Florida Man Ordered to Write Essay After Vandalizing Rainbow Crosswalk

Crosswalks, painted as a rainbow flag, are pictured in the street near the Gay Games village at the Hotel de Ville city hall in Paris
A judge is requiring a man to write an essay after vandalizing a crosswalk decorated in the colors of the Rainbow Flag.
REUTERS/Regis Duvignau

A Trump supporter who used his truck to vandalize a Rainbow crosswalk mural with skid marks has been ordered by a judge to write a 25-page essay detailing the horrifying 2016 attack at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando.

Alexander Jerich, 20, already pleaded guilty to criminal mischief in March for using his truck to leave skid marks on a Rainbow Flag mural painted along an intersection in Delray Beach, Florida, last June. The mural was painted in commemoration of the fifth anniversary of the Pulse massacre.

Prior to vandalizing the painting, Jerich went to a Trump rally to celebrate the former president’s birthday. The skid marks were found by a police officer three days after the city held a ceremony to unveil the street painting in honor of the 49 individuals who were killed and 53 who were injured at the mass shooting in Orlando on June 12, 2016. Public video footage of the incident showed the truck — featuring a Trump flag — slowly moving across the mural while leaving a trail of skid marks along the way.

Prosecutors are seeking a 30-day jail sentence with five years of probation, while Jerich’s attorney, Robert Pasch, hopes the judge settles for three years of probation and community service, according to the New York Times. The sentencing date is slated for June 8.

Judge Scott Suskauer, who serves on the 15th Circuit Court in Palm Beach County and was appointed by former GOP Governor Rick Scott, is requiring Jerich to complete the essay ahead of the sentencing date.

“I want your own brief summary of why people are so hateful and why people lash out against the gay community,” Suskauer said, according to the Palm Beach Post. Suskauer also wants Jerich to detail information about the victims of the Pulse attack.

Jerich was apologetic at a hearing on April 21, saying he had issues fitting in with others when he was young. The judge appears to be willing to hand down a lighter sentence and has already said he would hold off on making a decision about a penalty for criminal mischief.

“I don’t want to do that to a young man who has his whole life ahead of him,” Suskauer said.

Rand Hoch, who heads up the local Human Rights Council, believes State Attorney Dave Aronberg should have charged Jerich with a hate crime. Hoch also does not want Jerich to be allowed near the site of the vandalism, but the judge is considering the possibility of directing Jerich to visit the site every week to ensure it remains clean, the Palm Beach Post reported.

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