On Wednesday, the Atlanta Police LGBTQ Liaison Unit was first alerted about a “symbol that appeared to be a swastika spray-painted” at the intersection of 10th Street and Piedmont Avenue, according to Fox News.
The Atlanta Department of Transportation immediately scrubbed the hate symbol from the crosswalk. However, another swastika was spray-painted on the same LGBTQ rainbow crosswalk.
An unnamed man was caught on surveillance video and a dash camera spray-painting swastikas on a crosswalk branded with LGBTQ rainbows in midtown Atlanta.
Atlanta Police Chief Darin Schierbaum previously said, “This is an unacceptable act in this city, anywhere in this city or in any form where citizens are targeted by hate. This department is aggressively looking now for the individual who did this.”
The Atlanta Police Department asked the public to help identify the suspect.
Investigators identified the suspect and went to his apartment around 12 p.m. on Friday. The suspect refused to respond to police officers.
“When the suspect wouldn’t come out, Atlanta police SWAT teams were requested to come to the scene and continued to try to make attempts to contact the suspect,” WSB-TV reported. “Roads in the area were blocked off as officers worked to get the man out safely.”
Around 5 p.m., the suspect was arrested and taken into custody without incident, according to Atlanta Police Department spokesperson TaSheena Brown.
Authorities did not reveal the identity of the suspect. It was unclear what charges he faces.
“When you have a swastika, when you have homophobic graffiti, of course it’s a hate crime,” Schierbaum said. “The motivation is to intimidate. The motivation is to spread hate, and this city doesn’t have any room for hate, and this police department doesn’t tolerate hate.”
A spokesman for Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens’ office thanked the city’s employees “for erasing the hate that has no place in our city in such a swift and efficient manner.”
The LGBTQ rainbow crosswalk was painted for the 2015 Pride festival.
The city of Atlanta made the LGBTQ rainbow crosswalk permanent as a memorial to the 49 victims of the deadly 2016 Pulse nightclub shooting.
The rainbow crosswalk represents “symbols of acceptance, unity and tolerance representing the diversity of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies,” according to the organization that called for the creation of the painted street.
Rabbi speaks after man suspected of spray paining Atlanta rainbow crosswalk with swastika is arreste