Florida teen hit with felony charges over ‘doughnut-burnouts’ on Pride flag crosswalk

Florida police announced that they had charged a teenager with a felony after surveillance video captured someone doing donuts on a Pride street mural in May.

18-year-old Christian Maier was charged by St. Petersburg Police with felony criminal mischief and racing on the street.

‘It’s a very accepting and inclusive community. I just think there’s a few bad actors.’

Police said that Maier performed “doughnut-burnouts” on the street mural located at the Grand Central District in order to damage it. City workers were able to restore the mural before the Pride Month observation in June.

Officials say he caused about $1,000 in damage.

Maier posted $5,500 for bond and was released, according to police.

Lee Manuel, the owner of a cocktail bar near the mural, said that he was distressed by all of the incidents damaging the art installation.

“The first instance was really disheartening just knowing it was just recently repainted and the symbol that it is for the community here,” Manuel said in May.

“Hearing about it happening again,” he added, “was just unbelievable.”

Some on the right have already called for Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida to pardon Maier over the incident while others have called the teenager a hero.

Others like BlazeTV host Pay Gray mocked the tortured response to the acts of vandalism.

“They act like these are sacred areas, like they’re Indian burial grounds or something,” Gray laughed.

In February, another 19-year-old was charged with felony criminal mischief and reckless driving after surrendering himself to police over similar burnouts done on a rainbow mural intersection in Delray Beach. Later in June, one adult and two minors were arrested for “widespread damage” to a rainbow Pride mural in Spokane, Washington.

Back in St. Pete, Manuel said the vandalism was out of character for the city.

“It’s unfortunate, and having been a lifelong resident born and raised here, my family has been in St. Pete for 110 years, it’s not the St. Pete that I knew when I grew up here,” he said. “Again, a lot of things have changed, but it’s still a great community to live in. It’s a very accepting and inclusive community. I just think there’s a few bad actors.”

The mayor of St. Pete also denounced the vandalism.

“In light of the recent vandalism targeting our Progressive Pride flag mural, I want to emphasize that there is no place for hate in St. Petersburg,” said Ken Welch. “Together, we can show that love always wins.”

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