Unidentified vandals in Hillsborough County, Florida, spray-painted “Black Lives Matter” messages on walls, on a Donald Trump yard sign, and on a porch.
The messages ranged from “Kill White People,” to “Black Power,” to “Black Lives Matter” and “BLM.”
“It’s uncalled for,” local Cat D’Alessandro told ABC Action News. “There’s a way to protest, there’s a way not to, this is just, it hurts everybody.” She said she saw a deputy along the road trying to cover up the hateful “Kill White People” message, and she decided to help out, bringing her own spray-paint cans.
“I was kind of sad really because why does it have to be like, why does it have to get like this?” D’Alessandro asked.
The Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office has not discovered who the vandal or vandals are. “For us, it’s criminal mischief, it’s definitely racial,” Larry McKinnonn, a sheriff’s office spokesman, told The Daily Mail. “It’s racially indicative, it’s hate speech.”
— Daily Mail US (@DailyMail) September 28, 2016
“Yeah I’m pissed off, very pissed, because this just ruined our paint job and it makes our neighborhood look like trash now,” local Stacy Hatfield told ABC.
Racial tensions have spiked across the nation with activists adopting the slogan “Black Lives Matter,” protesting police violence against black people. While police seem to have abused their authority in many cases, the ones which launched the largest protests in Ferguson, Milwaukee, and Charlotte proved justifiable. The riots in Charlotte shut down the highway, victimizing truck drivers and families. In Milwaukee, rioters chanted “Black Power!” as a gas station burned, and one video showed protesters targeting a white man they did not know, due to the color of his skin.
In Ferguson, Michael Brown was shot after carrying out a robbery. Both a local grand jury and an FBI investigation ruled his shooting to have been justified, but Black Lives Matter activists attacked the criminal justice system as racist, and launched riots which damaged businesses and homes. Later testimony revealed that Brown did not utter the slogan “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” which activists continue to use as a rallying cry.
While the spray-painting of “Kill White People” on walls in Tampa may seem just another small-potatoes “Florida man” story, the racial language references the “Black Lives Matter” riots, which have featured real victimization of white people. Most “Black Lives Matter” activists may not harbor racial animus against white people, but this undercurrent of violence and violent threats is indeed troubling.