Four arrested for vandalizing Tampa’s ‘Back the Blue’ mural

by WorldTribune Staff, August 14, 2020

Four people were arrested for vandalizing a large “Back the Blue” mural painted outside the Tampa Police Department’s headquarters, Tampa police said.

Tampa ‘Back the Blue’ mural. / Facebook / Team South Florida

Shortly before 11 p.m. on Tuesday, Tampa police said they noticed the four suspects vandalizing the mural, WTVT reported.

The younger suspect was released to the custody of their parents and given notice to appear in court while the three adult suspects — 18-year-old Seth Michael Raigoza, 19-year-old Emily Ann Gabaree, and 18-year-old Alexander Thomas Drummond — were taken to jail.

It is the third time within two weeks that the mural has been defaced. In this instance, vandals used spray paint to depict pigs and profanity.

Vandals defaced the mural last week with red paint and tar. Police have not arrested any individuals in that case.

A group of about 40 volunteers said they painted the “Back the Blue” street mural earlier this month to boost police morale.

Keith Campbell, who organized the painting, told WTVT that his group obtained verbal approval from the mayor’s office. But a spokesperson for the mayor says the city was going through the formal process and the steps needed to obtain formal permission were not complete.

“Any tribute to honor their service is welcome. It’s unfortunate they didn’t see the permitting process through so that our community could participate in showing their appreciation for the brave men and women that service our residents every day,” said Mayor Jane Castor.

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