Vandal destroys Black Lives Matter display on 10 Fwy overpass

CITY TERRACE, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- A City Terrace neighborhood art project in support of Black Lives Matter was destroyed by a vandal who was spotted in the act.

Daytime video recorded on a cell phone shows the chase that ensued. The artist who spearheaded the installation pursued the man demanding to know why he did it.

"Hey, let me talk to you. Give me my sign back," Belinda Martinez is heard yelling.

Racial unity was the theme of the popup display that was placed on a pedestrian bridge that traverses the I-10 freeway.

RELATED: Caught on camera - man vandalizes George Floyd mural in Long Beach

Banners stating "Solidarity" and "Justice" were surrounded by strings of twinkle lights. The pieces included posters of brown and black fists intertwined and a heart collage.

"I was filled with anger, sadness, all kinds of emotions," says Martinez.

In the pursuit, the middle-aged man dropped a bundle wrapped in electrical tape. Martinez says it contained the ruined pieces of art and the strings of lights that were cut up.

"Why are you ripping things down? We are trying to bring unity in the community," Martinez tells the man as he runs to a white pickup truck.

Martinez and her supporters say that the installation's location was symbolic. It is a gateway into Los Angeles but also traverses the 10 Freeway.

"That bridge is what connects us to the rest of East LA and the rest of the city," says supporter Louie Rodriguez.

The collection of contributors ranged from 5 years old to middle-aged adults. They contributed over $300 to buy the strings of lights and other materials.

The display was intended to be a 24-hour exhibit. According to California law, banners can be held up on the bridges but not affixed.

Martinez now says she has been buoyed by the experience and says if she met the man again she would have words that he wouldn't expect - words of thanks.

"Whether he realizes it or not he actually made us stronger. We're not going to stop."
Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.