SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — San Diego leaders gathered in Hillcrest on Wednesday to denounce a pair of hate crimes that saw two "Black Lives Matter" signs vandalized last week.
Officials said signs supporting the BLM movement were vandalized with pink paint at the University Christian Church and Rich's nightclub last week. A photo captured from security footage of the suspect was released to the public.
"This was more than vandalism. This was an attack on our community," Mayor Todd Gloria said. "We will not shrug off hate against any San Diegan. Racism and bigotry in any form will not be tolerated in our city. We will identify the individual responsible for these hateful acts and hold them accountable."
Gloria and San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit were joined outside University Christian Church by several community leaders who also denounced the crimes.
"University Christian Church always stands on the side of love. We stand on the side of love regardless of race or ethnicity, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, regardless of immigration status, regardless of physical or mental ability, regardless of culture or creed; we love and forgive even people who vandalize churches and businesses," said University Christian Church’s senior pastor Rev. Caleb Lines. "We are also seeking to create something beautiful out of this hateful act, so in response, we are elevating the work of artists of color and LGBTQ+ identifying artists through a special community project during the month of February."
The city says the two crimes are part of a growing list of threats and criminal acts against members of the Black and LGBT communities in Hillcrest.
"Hateful acts of any kind will not be tolerated in our communities," said Chief Nisleit. "I encourage any community member to contact the police department if they believe they have been a victim of hate so that all allegations can be thoroughly investigated and victims can seek justice."
Anyone who may have witnessed the events or has any information is asked to call SDPD at 619-531-2000.