A Florida man was arrested after he wrote “BLM” and other messages in marker on a sidewalk in front of the St. Petersburg Police Department, authorities said.
“I do love my Black culture, deeply,” Mark Townsend, 58, explained to WFLA. “And nothing against other ones, I just love mine. And I think we need to be more pronounced about who we are so we can share our culture because we haven’t done enough.”
To show his pride, Townsend said he scrawled messages including “Black people, a people of integrity” on the sidewalk “with “a sharpie marker like you get at the library out of the bucket.”
“I just kind of like wrote it, and that was it!” he said.
Officers handcuffed Townsend and booked into the Pinellas County jail for criminal mischief, according to WFLA.
St. Petersburg police spokeswoman Ashley Limardo said the department’s maintenance crew “tried using different solvents to try and get [the writing] lifted from the floor, and nothing work, so the only option that we had was to grind it off.”
She noted it was now going to cost taxpayers approximately $26,000 to replace the sidewalk.
“It wasn’t like I was trying to do anything malicious,” Armstrong said. “I knew there was cameras there, and I saw the writing and stuff on other [areas].”