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Clearwater man accused of vandalizing LGBTQ+ pride mural in Delray Beach

Dylan Brewer, 19, faces charges after police say he did burnouts over the street mural on Feb. 4.
 
People walk along the intersection of Northeast First Street and Northeast Second Avenue in Delray Beach on Monday. A 19-year-old Clearwater man is accused of defacing the Delray Beach LGBTQ+ Pride Intersection with a car.
People walk along the intersection of Northeast First Street and Northeast Second Avenue in Delray Beach on Monday. A 19-year-old Clearwater man is accused of defacing the Delray Beach LGBTQ+ Pride Intersection with a car. [ CARLINE JEAN | South Florida Sun Sentinel ]
Published Feb. 12

A 19-year-old man from Clearwater turned himself in Monday after police said he intentionally vandalized the LGBTQ+ pride mural at an intersection in Delray Beach, the same one vandalized in 2021 a day after it was unveiled.

Dylan Brewer was booked into the Palm Beach County jail shortly before 11 a.m. on one count of felony criminal mischief over $1,000 and one count of reckless driving. He is the second person to be arrested for defacing the mural at the intersection of Northeast First Street and Northeast Second Avenue, and other cities in South Florida have dealt with similar issues.

Surveillance video recorded Brewer doing burnouts in a dark-colored truck over the intersection on Feb. 4. Witnesses said they saw him deface the mural multiple times, and several people turned in cellphone video of the burnouts, according to a city news release.

Dylan Brewer, 19, turned himself in to the Palm Beach County jail Monday after police say he vandalized an LGBTQ+ street mural in Delray Beach earlier this month.
Dylan Brewer, 19, turned himself in to the Palm Beach County jail Monday after police say he vandalized an LGBTQ+ street mural in Delray Beach earlier this month. [ Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office ]

A flag could be seen on the back of the truck in the surveillance video. The Palm Beach County Human Rights Council said in a news release that it was a Donald Trump flag.

The advocacy organization, which paid $16,000 for the mural’s installation along with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, said in the statement that the vandalism should be considered a hate crime, but it is not.

Alexander Jerich, 20, of Lake Worth Beach pleaded guilty in 2022 to the same charges Brewer is facing for defacing the mural in 2021 while driving in a birthday rally for Trump. He was sentenced to probation, which recently ended, and was ordered to write a 25-page essay about the victims of the 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando.

Rand Hoch, president and founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, told the South Florida Sun Sentinel Jerich’s punishment was only “a slap on the wrist” and that a stricter example needs to be set in order to deter something similar from happening once again.

“I think a big problem is with our judiciary who doesn’t understand hate crimes are hate crimes, whether or not they fit the specific definition of the law. … There needs to be consequences so people know if they commit crimes like this, they are going to jail, they are going to be fined, they are going to have to suffer from what they did,” Hoch said. “Right now, we don’t seem to have it.”

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Hoch said after Jerich vandalized the mural in 2021, the estimate to fix it was about $8,000. He estimated the cost would be about the same to repair the most recent damage.

About a year ago, a truck driver burned tire marks into the pride flag mural on Sebastian Street between State Road A1A and Seabreeze Boulevard near a part of Fort Lauderdale’s beach that is widely known as an LGBTQ+ beach. Surveillance video also recorded the vandalism, and Fort Lauderdale police were seeking to identify the driver and passenger at the time.

It is not immediately known whether the two men seen in the video have since been identified and charged, though the police department told the Sun Sentinel in June 2023 the case was still active and any suspect or suspects had not been announced.

Last June, a motorcyclist burned tire marks into the pride flag mural at an intersection in Boynton Beach. A police report said the motorcyclist took photos of the damage and his helmet appeared to have a camera mounted on it.

The man had not been identified weeks afterward, and the case was considered inactive pending any new leads. It is not immediately known whether the motorcyclist has since been identified and charged.

©2024 South Florida Sun Sentinel. Visit sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency LLC.