Park City investigators question person of interest in vandalism of Black Lives Matter mural
Park City Police Department investigators on Wednesday questioned a Davis County man who the police describe as a person of interest in the vandalism of a large Black Lives Matter mural on Main Street.
The police have not arrested the person and are continuing to research the man’s claim that he was with someone and was somewhere else at the time of the vandalism, Darwin Little, a police lieutenant, said on Friday. Little said the police hope to gather enough evidence to arrest the man or clear him by the end of the coming workweek.
Little said the police obtained surveillance footage from a business on Main Street that shows a person resembling the man from Davis County on the street at about the time the vandalism is believed to have occurred. He said it is unclear, though, whether the person of interest is the same person seen in the surveillance footage.
Little said a Park City police officer stopped a vehicle several nights after the vandalism occurred and recognized the driver as matching the description of the person seen on the surveillance footage. The person was “driving around with no apparent reason,” Little said. The officer forwarded the information to the investigators looking into the vandalism, leading to the questioning on Wednesday. Little said suspects sometimes return to the scene of a criminal act, describing it as something “psychologically, criminals do regularly.”
Little said the police have learned limited information about the man’s political leanings. He has told the police, though, he has demonstrated in support of the Black Lives Matter movement or in protest to the police killing of George Floyd that sparked widespread demonstrations in the U.S.
The person once worked for a paint contractor, Little said the police learned. Little estimated enough paint was used in the vandalism of the murals to cover 2,000 square feet of Main Street.
The lieutenant said the case could result in a count of criminal mischief once someone is charged. The case could involve a felony count rather than a misdemeanor one based on the cost of the repairs to the murals, Little said, describing the incident as a “serious matter.”
He acknowledged the investigation into the man from Davis County is the only solid lead that had been developed by Friday.
The vandalism occurred just days after the Black Lives Matter mural and others were created on the Main Street asphalt as part of an effort managed by the Park City Summit County Arts Council and supported by a City Hall grant. The works were created on one of the Sunday pedestrian days on Main Street and drew widespread attention. The vandal or vandals covered the word “Black” with gray paint and covered a clenched fist symbol for the letter “I” in the word “Lives.” One of the others, which read “Peace, Unity, Love,” was targeted at the same time. Mayor Andy Beerman denounced the vandalism and repairs were made the next week.
Anybody with information about the vandalism may contact the Police Department at 615-5500 or Little at 615-5515.
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