York Regional Police say a 57-year-old man is facing charges after a new Pride rainbow crosswalk was vandalized by black spray paint, marking the second time the installation was targeted.
On Saturday at around 3:20 a.m., police said an officer was on patrol in Aurora, Ont., in the area of Yonge Street and Wellington Road where a new crosswalk was just unveiled by the mayor two days earlier.
The officer spotted a man using black spray paint to damage the crosswalk, police said.
The man, Roy Zinn from Aurora, was arrested. He is charged with mischief.
Police said they are also investigating another incident on Thursday, just before midnight, of a light-coloured pickup truck that drove over the crosswalk and left black tire skid marks over the rainbow. The suspect allegedly returned a short time later and left some more, police added.
“Investigators believe that the marks were done intentionally and this is being investigated as a hate-motivated incident,” York Regional Police said in a news release.
Police said they were contacted by the Town of Aurora staff on Friday regarding the damage to the roadway.
Aurora approved the rainbow crosswalk in July after Mayor Tom Mrakas introduced a motion at council saying the installation was meant to show support for the LGBTQ2 community.
It is unclear if the suspect charged following the spray paint incident Saturday morning is the same individual who ran over the crosswalk with the pickup truck on Thursday.
Mayor Mrakas expressed his disappointment for both incidents.
“It is extremely disappointing that someone would damage the rainbow crosswalk that represents our town commitment to being an inclusive community,” Mrakaws told Global News in a statement. “As demonstrated by the overwhelming response from the community these acts do not represent Aurora.”
LGBTQ2 community groups such as Pflag Canada – York Region issued a statement that “vandalism and hate will not shake our resolve.”
“These acts of hate are just a small example of the hate that is woven through LGBTQ2 history and our daily lived experiences,” Tristan Coolman, President of Pflag York Region, said.
“We thank the Town of Aurora and York Regional Police for their swift action, which also shows our community that acts of hate are not tolerated. The bright colours which represent our Pride, our resiliency and our resolve will always shine much brighter than any form of hate,” Coolman added.
Police are asking anyone with information on Thursday’s incident to come forward and call police at 1-866-876-5423 ext. 7141 or Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477.
— With files from Global News’ Nick Westoll.