15 July 2020 - 12:45
News ID: 450478
A public artwork on Manhattan's Fifth Avenue has been damaged just days after the commission by the City of New York was completed.

Rasa - Mayor Bill De Blasio joined the community effort to paint the 'Black Lives Matter' road mural in bold yellow letters last Thursday but by noon Monday a man had defaced the area outside the President Trump's NYC residence, Trump Tower, Daily Mail reported.

The project carried out by young people wearing "I Am Peace" T-shirts last week, only last days before it was splattered in red paint.

Cops said the vandal was wearing a black shirt and black cap. The suspect dumped the paint then fled down 56th Street but it was smeared further – most of it across the letters "K", "L" and "V" – by passing vehicles.

The suspect reportedly escaped before law enforcement officers could catch up with him.

Police said they are reviewing surveillance footage and asked people to get in contact with any information. Crews were working to get rid of the damage on Monday afternoon.

The iconic skyscraper has been heavily-guarded since Trump delved into the world of politics. It has been the site of numerous protests, including one on Saturday where Trump supporters clashed with anti-racism protesters.

On Monday a man wearing and selling "Dump Trump" gear witnessed the property damage. 

He was pictured standing nearby a man holding up a sign seemingly intended to gaslight people highlighting racial inequalities. It read, "The only time black lives matter is when they are shot by a white policeman or an Oreo cookie. Defend all policemen".

An "Oreo" is a derogatory term used against people of color, comparing them to the cookie which is classically brown on the outside and white on the inside. 

The slur suggests the person exhibits behavior that the person judging aligns with being characteristically white. 

The mural was one of five announced for New York City last month as part of an initiative to honor civil rights activists.

This month Trump expressed his opposition to the mural, saying it would denigrate the luxury shopping area. He also said it would "further antagonize New York's finest".

Before cops guarded the area while the mural was being painted, the president tweeted, "Maybe our GREAT Police, who have been neutralized and scorned by a mayor who hates & disrespects them, won't let this symbol of hate be affixed to New York's greatest street."

The decision came as Americans across the country expressed their hurt at statues and memorials to Confederate soldiers and slave-owners looming over public places for decades.

"When we say 'Black Lives Matter,' there is no more American statement, there is no more patriotic statement because there is no America without Black America," de Blasio said. 

"We are acknowledging the truth of ourselves as Americans by saying 'Black Lives Matter.' We are righting a wrong,'" he said. 

Trump recently signed an executive order that would see anyone found to have tampered with a statue or monument face up to 10 years in prison.

It's unclear what the suspect's punishment could be. On Tuesday, the Contra Costa County District Attorney's Office charged David Nelson and Nicole Anderson with a hate crime after they destroyed a similar mural that was painted in Martinez, California on July 4.

"We must address the root and byproduct of systemic racism in our country. The Black Lives Matter movement is an important civil rights cause that deserves all of our attention," District Attorney Diana Becton said in a statement.

"The mural completed last weekend was a peaceful and powerful way to communicate the importance of Black lives in Contra Costa County and the country. We must continue to elevate discussions and actually listen to one another in an effort to heal our community and country," Becton added.

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