Santa Cruz Vandal Who Defaced “Black Lives Matter” Mural Identified and Arrested

The Santa Cruz Police Department has successfully identified and apprehended the individual responsible for vandalizing the “Black Lives Matter” mural in front of Santa Cruz City Hall. Taj Blum, a 49-year-old resident of Santa Cruz County, was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of felony vandalism. However, the act is not being considered a hate crime, according to Santa Cruz Police Chief Bernie Escalante.

The incident occurred on July 29, 2023, when the Santa Cruz Police Department received a report of vandalism to the mural, which involved blue paint being splattered across the artwork. Video evidence obtained by investigators clearly shows Blum riding a scooter and throwing paint on the mural.

Escalante stated that the motivation behind the act remains unclear, although there have been discussions on social media regarding disagreements about the mural’s location and size. However, Escalante emphasized that the act was not driven by hatred towards people of color.

Following the identification of Blum as the vandal, investigators executed multiple search warrants, interviewed witnesses, and conducted forensic examinations. The Santa Cruz District Attorney’s Office was also involved in determining whether the act could be classified as a hate crime.

After an extensive investigation, sufficient evidence was gathered to arrest Blum for felony vandalism. Blum, who has no prior criminal record, was taken into custody without incident and is currently held in the Santa Cruz County Jail on $5,000 bail.

Author: CrimeDoor

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