Spokane Activists Repaint Rainbow Crosswalk After Three Teen Boys Are Charged With Setting It On Fire

Spokane’s PBS affiliate reports:

For 24 hours the intersection in front of Riverfront Park transformed into something akin to a block party as the Pride flag mural was restored to its original glory. The mural, which has been a frequent target of vandalism — as recently as last week — and even arson, was designed by queer Spokane artist Tiffany Patterson as part of the Asphalt Arts program run by Spokane Arts and funded by the city of Spokane.

As Patterson led four painters in restoring the mural last week, gay-associated pop hits like Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” and “I Will Survive” by Gloria Gaynor blasted from speakers placed around the intersection. Just off the mural, Matthew Danielson and Skyler Oberst, the executive directors of Spokane Pride and Spokane Arts, respectively, set up tents with refreshments and information about their organizations and fielded the frequent questions from the public and the media as folks walked by the art-in-progress.

Spokane’s CBS affiliate reports:

Spokane Police Department (SPD) made arrests Wednesday night after multiple teenagers were reported vandalizing the newly painted Pride crosswalk mural in front of Riverfront Park On May 16, SPD said someone vandalized the Pride crosswalk mural at approximately 1:30 a.m. According to police, video surveillance shows multiple people dumping liquid on the mural before setting it on fire.

Court documents show when one of the witnesses confronted the young teens, one of the minors shouted back “F*** you F*****” and “Go to Hell.” A different witness also heard a suspect in the group say “F*****” according to court documents. 19-year-old Ruslan V. V. Turko and two minors were arrested for first-degree malicious mischief. Turko appeared in court Thursday. Prosecutors requested a $15,000 bond due to the estimated cost of re-painting the mural.

In reaction to the latest vandalism, Washington state legislators updated state laws making defacement of public property, as well as private, as potentially subject to hate crime charges. One of the arrested suspects can be seen in the second video below.