Written by Ashton Snyder on
 June 11, 2024

Teens Face Decade in Jail for Vandalism

Three teenagers in Spokane, Washington, are facing serious legal consequences after defacing a rainbow road mural with e-scooters.

The teens were arrested for first-degree malicious mischief, potentially resulting in a decade-long prison sentence under new hate crime legislation.

According to Daily Mail, nineteen-year-old Ruslan V. V. Turko and two unnamed minors were apprehended on Wednesday after they were seen creating skid marks on an LGBT rainbow road mural. The incident occurred in front of Riverfront Park in Spokane, Washington.

New Hate Crime Legislation Underway

Prosecutors charged the teens with first-degree malicious mischief, a severe offense under freshly enacted Washington state legislation. This law, which took effect on June 6, redefines hate crimes to include property defacement, making it a felony punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.

Turko was released on his own recognizance with specific conditions after appearing in court on Thursday, despite prosecutors requesting a $15,000 bond to repaint a vandalized mural. The conditions of his release include avoiding the crime scene and any contact with co-suspects, reflecting the serious approach the court is taking towards handling such hate crimes.

Witnesses Capture Vandalism in Progress

Witnesses at a nearby bar observed the teens in action, damaging the freshly painted rainbow road mural with their e-scooters. They confronted the teens and took photos of the act with their mobile phones.

One of the minors responded with offensive language towards the witnesses, epitomizing the brazen attitude that accompanied the vandalism. The city had only just completed re-painting the mural before this incident unfolded.

In response to the actions, Lime, the e-scooter company, condemned the vandalism and expressed its support for the LGBTQ community. The company declared its commitment to preventing future occurrences by creating a no-ride zone around the mural.

Community and Corporate Reactions

Lime's official statement expressed strong disapproval of the vandalism, emphasizing that the company would take immediate action against the perpetrators. "All of us at Lime condemn these vile acts in no uncertain terms," stated Lime.

Lime confirmed it would support local pride and arts organizations, stressing that they wouldn't allow "the hateful few" to dampen Pride Month celebrations. Additionally, Lime pledged resources to uplift and protect LGBTQ+ individuals.

Previously, in May, the mural was set on fire by another group, an act captured on surveillance footage. A community fundraiser was held to gather funds for the reconstruction of the mural, which underscores ongoing struggles against hate crimes.

Governor Signs New Protection Bill

Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed new legislation in March that redefines hate crimes to include property defacement, a direct response to repeated vandalism of LGBTQ+ landmarks in Spokane. This law aims to strengthen legal actions against such offenses, reflecting the community's commitment to resilience and inclusivity through re-painting, fundraising, and advocating for enhanced legal protections.

To summarize, three teenagers, including Ruslan V. V. Turko, face significant legal repercussions following their arrest for vandalizing an LGBT rainbow road mural. Their actions coincide with new legislation that classifies such defacement as a felony hate crime. The combined efforts of local authorities, witnesses, and corporate bodies aim to combat these hate-driven offenses and support the LGBTQ community.

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About Ashton Snyder

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