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‘Back the Blue’ mural outside Tampa police HQ defaced overnight

Aerial video showed the paint appeared to cover portions of the word ‘blue’

Peter Talbot
Tampa Bay Times, St. Petersburg, Fla.

TAMPA, Fla. — Black and red paint was found Wednesday morning splattered over a pro-police “Back the Blue” mural outside Tampa Police Department headquarters. The mural was painted Aug. 1 and lasted just three days before it was defaced.

Video from Fox 13 Tampa Bay showed the damage to the mural Wednesday morning. The paint appeared to cover portions of the word “blue.” The Tampa Police Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The mural, meant to show support for law enforcement personnel, was painted without the city’s permission last weekend after organizers worked unsuccessfully for weeks to get approval. Organizers blocked traffic on East Madison street with personal vehicles and orange cones while they painted.

One organizer, Tampa resident Kristen Krutz, told the Tampa Bay Times Monday she expected the mural to be vandalized.

“There’s no doubt if they go out there and deface this mural that somebody is going to deface theirs,” Krutz said Monday. “That’s what irritates me. And it’s not going to be me. But it’s going to happen.”

The mural was heavily criticized on social media as being difficult to read and ugly. Comedian Patton Oswalt weighed in on Twitter with a sarcastic comment: “Are you kidding? That looks great. I will always Blrbk the Blub.” Local Black Lives Matter activists said it felt like a retaliation to the movement and its murals.

©2020 the Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Fla.)