Two British Columbia pride crosswalks and a mural have been defaced with paint — and it happened in three days.
The first incident occurred in Vancouver at the intersection of Davie and Bute streets on July 1 — CBC News reported. City crews were able to clear off the paint by the next day, using a pressure washer, and Vancouver police say they are investigating the incident.
On July 3, rainbow-painted crosswalks in Nanaimo were defaced with black paint overnight along with a mural. A nearby security camera captured still images taken between 3 a.m. and 4 a.m. of a white man holding a can of paint and a paintbrush.
Now, police are investigating the act as a hate crime and asking the public to help find the suspect — The Nanaimo Bulletin reported.
The man is described by the RCMP as Caucasian, in his mid-30s, with short hair. He was seen wearing a black face mask, black shoes, light-coloured shorts and a black t-shirt.
“Considering that the crosswalk was painted to recognize the LGBTQ2+ community in Nanaimo, this incident is being treated as hate-motivated mischief,” Constable Gary O’Brien of the Nanaimo RCMP said.
“If a suspect is positively identified and charges laid, this factor may be considered by the courts as an aggravating factor.”
In 2016, the City of Nanaimo proposed the crosswalks be painted in the pride flag colours to uplift the LGBTQ community. When City officials heard about the damage, they planned to re-paint it as soon as Tuesday, July 6.
“This kind of desecration of something that is meant to make people welcome in our community is simply not acceptable. This is 2021,” Mayor Leonard Krog at Monday’s city council meeting, according to the Nanaimo Bulletin.
“I would like to think that this is an isolated incident by an individual who clearly needs some guidance and assistance.”
If you know anything about the incident, call the Nanaimo RCMP non-emergency line at 250-754-2345 and reference file number 2021-24453.