Tampa, FL – A group of about 40 police supporters painted a Back the Blue street mural in front of Tampa Police Headquarters late on Saturday night.
The painters belonged to the organizations Back the Blue Florida and Community Patriots of Tampa, WTSP reported.
The mural is located on East Madison Street and the organizers said they asked for a permit to paint it but didn’t receive the formal permission before they got started.
“The reason why we decided to proceed without a permit is because Black Lives Matter has murals all over the city that say Black Lives Matter, and they were not permitted,” Kristin Krutz, with Back the Blue Florida, told the Tampa Bay Times.
Without permission from the city, the group blocked the street with their own vehicles and orange cones and painted the block-long mural with the blue, white, and black colors of the Thin Blue Line flag used to honor law enforcement.
Tampa Florida Makes US History:
On Saturday, August 1st 2020, Tampa Bay’s law enforcement supporters painted the first “Back the Blue” mural located on East Madison Street next to the Tampa Police Department in Downtown Tampa. #BackTheBlue pic.twitter.com/MsagXCu8Qf
— the big fellow (@borderfox116) August 2, 2020
Krutz said she filed a public records request with the city and learned that no permits had been issued with the multiple Black Lives Matter murals that have been painted all over the city.
She said she aggressively emailed Tampa Mayor Jane Castor beginning on July 16 seeking her stamp of approval and input on the mural, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
But Krutz said all the mayor did was refer her to other city officials and send her a guide on how to paint an intersection properly in Tampa.
City of Tampa Spokesperson Ashley Bauman told the Tampa Bay Times that the Back the Blue mural application was undergoing the approval process and said the city would have a statement on it Monday.
Downtown Franklin Street, here in Tampa, Florida, we BACK THE BLUE 🇺🇲❤🤍💙 God Bless our Police Officers 🙌🙏☝️ pic.twitter.com/zDw5q3l58d
— Kathy McKnight (@CKActions) August 2, 2020
“This is a very visible, very big statement that says we are here,” Kelli Campbell, with Back the Blue Florida, said, according to WTSP. “There are many of us. We care about you. We care about you going out every day putting your life on the line for us.”
“We support everything that you are doing, and that we know that the majority of law enforcement are good people,” Campbell added.
Krutz said they felt the mural was needed to show the Tampa Police Department they had support and appreciation from the people they serve, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“They’re being defunded and things that they need and require to do their job are not going to be provided anymore,” she said. “Obviously, that would make anybody feel unappreciated, unwanted, and that’s the opposite of what we wanted them to see with the mural on the street.”
Take a look at part of the block long Back the Blue mural painted downtown on Madison St. next to the #Tampa Police Department. Video courtesy of a @WFLA photojournalist. https://t.co/a6b73fxHWE pic.twitter.com/rsmBxEknTf
— Justin Schecker (@WFLAJustin) August 2, 2020
Krutz said that she expected the Back the Blue mural would probably be defaced, even though that hadn’t happened to any of the Black Lives Matter murals in Tampa, the Tampa Bay Times reported.
“There’s no doubt if they go out there and deface this mural that somebody is going to deface theirs,” the police advocate predicted. “That’s what irritates me. And it’s not going to be me. But it’s going to happen.”