In the case of a driver who defaced the Delray Beach pride intersection in June, the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office says the case is still under review and the filing date for charges is Aug. 5.
Alexander Jerich, 20, was arrested on June 17, four days after he burned out over the intersection, leaving behind large skidmarks. He was charged with reckless driving and criminal mischief (hate crime).
The intersection had only been dedicated two days prior.
According to a report by the Delray Beach Police Department, a witness came forward after the incident and shared that there was an event to celebrate former President Donald Trump’s birthday and they planned to drive through the city as a part of the festivities. However, when they reached the intersection, someone yelled out, “Adam, tear up that gay intersection.”
Jerich, or “Adam,” was picked out of a lineup by the witness; he said he came forward “not only as a community member but as a gay man.”
The report states that the cost of street space was $16,720. The City’s Public Works Department is currently working with the vendor to have the intersection repainted, which is expected to cost several thousand dollars, said Gina Carter, the public information officer for Delray Beach. She said that there is no set date for the project.
After the pride intersection was damaged, Rand Hoch, president of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, emailed Chief Javaro Sims to cite the new Florida Criminal Mischief Statute, or “anti-riot law,” passed by Gov. Ron DeSantis which would create harsher punishments for those who vandalize a historic property or memorial.
“The Pride Streetscape is a ‘memorial’ as defined at Section 806.135(1)(b) as it is both a ‘painting’ and a ‘display’ which was ‘constructed and located with the intent of being permanently displayed’ and ‘perpetually maintained,’” Hoch wrote, highlighting that speakers at the ribbon-cutting specifically mentioned that the streetscape is “dedicated” to events such as the Stonewall Riots that kicked off the Equality Movement and the murder of 49 people at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando five years ago.
Should the vandal’s crime fall under this expanded statute, it would be considered a third-degree felony.
“It’s deliberate. I really hope justice works and they really apply this law,” Hoch said.