Bikers could face hate crime charges after defacing $30,000 rainbow crosswalk

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Residents and politicians in an Albuquerque, New Mexico community are upset after a brand new $30,000 rainbow crosswalk was defaced by at least a dozen motorcyclist who left dark skid marks on it.

Senator Jacob Candelaria, who is the only openly gay member of the New Mexico legislature, is among those reacting.

“To the vandals, I hope you got something out of it. But my message to you, is grow up,” Candelaria said. “As an LGBT person, I do feel sad.”

The crosswalk — unveiled Monday — cost the city $30,000, which is three times the cost of a regular white crosswalk.

“I can’t believe we can’t have anything nice,” said Melvin Hanson, who is a resident in the community.

Hanson said he thought the crosswalk was great, “especially given the cultural significance of Morningside Park and what that means to Pride.”

The crosswalks were installed just in time for Gay Pride Month.

Albuquerque Police say they’re unsure if the vandalism is targeting the LGBT community.

But members feel victimized.

And at the same time, empowered.

“Little boys like that, who defaced that sidewalk they’re never going to take our pride away,” Candelaria said.

Candelaria 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,” Candelaria said.

Police say some of the vandals recorded their crime and posted videos of it online.

Officials say the videos should help officials ID the suspects.

If caught, the suspects could face hate crime charges.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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