Caught on camera: Man vandalizes George Floyd mural in Long Beach

After a person was caught on camera defacing a mural of George Floyd on a boarded-up storefront in Long Beach, community members are seeking answers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020
Community seeks justice after George Floyd mural vandalized in Long Beach
After a person was caught on camera defacing a mural of George Floyd on a boarded-up storefront in Long Beach, community members are seeking answers.

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- Muralists Anna and Kenny McBride wanted to show their support for the Black Lives Matter movement, so they decided to offer their services to a local business owner.

"I thought, you know, there are all these plywood murals. Maybe at someone's business we can do one for free to help a business owner out," said Anna McBride.

That's when the couple posted on Nextdoor, offering to paint a small business owner's boarded-up storefront free of charge. Instantly, the McBride's connected with Tiffany Sidwell, owner of Verde Salon.

"I had an idea of what I wanted and it was just a portrait of George Floyd to pay tribute," Sidwell said.

On Thursday, June 4, the McBride's painted the plywood mural at Verde Salon. Saturday morning, Sidwell was greeted with an unpleasant surprise upon returning to the salon.

"I just came to work to water the plants and as I drove by I saw it had been vandalized," Sidwell said.

Once Sidwell looked over the footage from the security camera, she saw what happened. A man could be seen walking up with a bucket of blue paint, and for three minutes he defaced the mural, painting over Floyd's face before quickly walking away.

"It honestly makes you feel kind of gross to watch something like that," Kenny said. "It's disturbing to think that in a city like Long Beach that is so well-known for its diversity that people like that live around here."

The same day, Anna and Kenny rushed back to the salon to repaint the mural.

"As soon as we found out, we dropped everything and rushed over immediately," Anna said. "We knew we were going to repaint this. We were going to make him bigger, better and graffiti-protect him."

With help from employees from neighboring business Hug Life Ice Cream, the McBride's were able to scrape away most the bright blue paint, recreate the mural and apply an anti-graffiti coating.

It wasn't long before photos from the security footage circulated through social media.

"If, in fact, the person that I have on that footage is who people say he is, he had been publicly shamed," Sidwell said.

As public backlash continues to grow, Sidwell decided to file a police report.

"It would be really tragic if a mural that was meant to spread support in a community ends up inciting violence," Sidwell said.

A spokesperson from the Long Beach Police Department said the case is under investigation.

"This is a movement about making bridges and about taking the steps forward to shake hands and not throw fists at each other," Kenny said.

Since posts on social media showing the suspect's face from the security footage have gone viral, Kenny has publicly asked for the culprit who vandalized the salon to step forward and apologize.

Sidwell said that the alleged person from the security footage came into the salon over the weekend to apologize.

The mural has since been taken down and will be displayed in an open-air art installation created by the Downtown Long Beach Alliance.

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