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Tampa’s Back the Blue mural vandalized

Jaymi Butler

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Back the blue
The "Back the Blue" mural painted outside the Tampa Police Department was vandalized Tuesday night, not before drawing widespread online controversy.

The country’s first pro-police mural was painted outside Tampa Police Department headquarters over the weekend. 

Four nights later, it was vandalized, marking the latest chapter in the mural’s brief but controversial saga. 

On Saturday night, a group of 40 people blocked off a section of East Madison Street with orange cones and their own vehicles so they could paint the “Back the Blue” mural on the street. Organizers had applied for a permit, but it hadn’t yet been approved when the mural went up. 

Kristen Krutz, one of the organizers, told the Tampa Bay Times that the mural was created to show support for law enforcement personnel.

“They’re being defunded and things that they need and require to do their job are not going to be provided anymore,” Krutz said. “Obviously, that would make anybody feel unappreciated, unwanted, and that’s the opposite of what we wanted them to see with the mural on the street.”

There’s been no shortage of public opinion on the mural, which has drawn national attention on social media. While many people have taken issue with the mural’s message, plenty of others simply find it poorly designed and hard to read. Even comedian Patton Oswalt weighed in.

His post attracted more than 2,000 retweets and comments.

A Tampa Police Department statement released Wednesday afternoon said that two people were responsible for the vandalism, which occurred around 10 p.m. Tuesday night. 

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