Man who defaced Pride mural told to write essay on Pulse shooting

Man who defaced Pride mural told to write essay on Pulse shooting
Defendant told court: ‘I was just trying to fit in and be accepted’

A Florida man has been ordered to write a 25-page essay on the deadly shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub after he admitted to damaging a LGBT+ mural.

Alexander Jerich, 20, used his father’s white truck to burn tyre marks into an LGBT+ mural in Delray Beach during the June 2021 incident, which occurred just days into Pride month last year.

UNE vidéo showed him damaging the painted mural with a truck adorned with a blue “All Aboard the Trump Train” flag which could be seen on the back, with the footage eventually leading to his arrest.

Mr Jerich, of Lake Worth, was taking part in a parade for the former Republican’s president’s birthday when he decided to damage the mural celebrating the LGBT+ community, a court heard.

Speaking during a hearing , Judge Scott Suskauer asked the Trump supporter to write an essay on the deadly shooting at Pulse to learn why members of the LGBT+ community were targeted in the attack that killed 49 individuals.

“I want your own brief summary of why people are so hateful and why people lash out against the gay community,” said the judge to Mr Jerich, who allegedly did not know what the Pride rainbow meant when he carried out the act of vandalism, selon le Le poste de Palm Beach.

The 25-page essay on the Pulse nightclub shooting is reportedly due by 8 juin, when Mr Jerich is scheduled to appear in court again for his sentencing. He has already pleaded guilty to charges of felony criminal mischief and misdemeanour reckless driving, en mars.

<p>Alexander Jerich, 20</p>

Alexander Jerich, 20

Prosecutors are asking for 30 days in jail, community service and five years of probation, while defence attorneys argue for only community service and three years of probation, selon The Associated Press.

Local LGBT+ groups have however refused requests from the court to take on Mr Jerich as a volunteer, La poste signalé, with Human Rights Council president Rand Hoch telling the judge in an impact statement: “They don’t want the defendant anywhere near our organisation or our missions”.

“He was not just a young man fooling around with his truck. Jerich sought to make a very public statement against the LGBTQ+ community. And he did,” Mr Hoch added, selon Buzzfeed News. “At a welcoming public venue representing inclusion, Jerich literally left marks of hate.”

<p>The damaged Pride mural</p>

The damaged Pride mural

Mr Hoch added in an interview with Le New York Times mardi: “I went in there prepared to be disappointed and I came out impressed. It will be interesting to see what the ultimate punishment is.”

Mr Jerich meanwhile appeared to cry in court on Thursday and said: “I’ve had problems in the past with fitting in. I was just trying to fit in and be accepted,” reported La poste. His father also reportedly spoke of his son’s troubles.

The mural in Delray Beach was repainted last year.

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