ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Detectives are confident they will identify the individuals who vandalized the new rainbow crosswalks installed in Nob Hill then bragged about it on social media. The crosswalks were installed less than a week ago and members of the LGBTQ community feel specifically targeted.
The city was at the scene early Thursday morning trying to get the burn marks out of the crosswalk, but the tire stains are still visible.
At least a dozen motorcyclists were seen blowing through the Central and Morningside intersection Wednesday night, burning rubber—one biker even popping their tire. They are the group responsible for these dark skid marks on the brand-new rainbow crosswalk.
Among those reacting is Sen. Jacob Candelaria, the only openly gay member of the New Mexico Legislature.
“To the vandals, I hope you got something out of it. But my message to you is, grow up,” Sen. Jacob Candelaria said. “As an LGBT person, I do feel sad.”
The crosswalk, unveiled Monday, cost the city $30,000—three times the cost of a regular white crosswalk.
“I can’t believe we can’t have anything nice.”
Members of the LGBT community aren’t the only ones reacting.
“I thought it was great, especially given the cultural significance of Morningside Park and what it means to pride,” Melvin Hanson said.
The crosswalks were installed just in time for Gay Pride Month. Albuquerque police say they’re unsure if the vandalism is targeting the LGBTQ community. Still, members feel victimized, but at the same time, empowered.
“Little boys like that, who defaced that sidewalk, they’re never going to take our pride away,” Sen. Candelaria said.
He encourages those responsible for the damage to join the celebration this weekend. “Why don’t you come and enjoy, and why don’t you come and recognize that the world is a lot bigger than your immature attitudes?”
The city is still assessing the cost of the damage. Before this happened, officials had scheduled a news conference for an official unveiling of the crosswalks Friday. They say they won’t comment on the situation until then.
APD said its confident detectives will find out who the vandals are who defaced the rainbow crosswalks then bragged about it on social media.
“You know, I think it’s very disappointing,” APD Deputy Chief Harold Medina said. According to the deputy chief, detectives are now investigating the vandalism as a possible hate crime.
“I definitely think that there some aspects that they definitely are specifically hitting a symbol of the community, and I think that it’s very disappointing they chose to carry out these activities,” he said.
Some of the riders in the group even took out their own cell phones to record. According to police, that worked to their advantage, saying some of the video gave them good clues as to who these people may be.
“Anybody out there with their own social media accounts who think that we don’t monitor, or receive social media posts, you better think twice,” Medina said.
Detectives are asking anyone who may recognize any of the motorcyclists to call Crime Stoppers at (505) 843-STOP.