A man accused of deliberately leaving skid marks on a freshly painted rainbow crosswalk in Delray Beach will not face hate crime charges.
Police say 20-year old Alexander Jerich drove his father's pickup truck away from a Trump birthday parade in June to destroy the intersection, something that was caught on video.
But State Attorney Dave Aronberg said the actions would not meet the level of a hate crime, because the target was not a specific person.
Rand Hoch, President and Founder of the Palm Beach County Human Rights Council, says that determination is off-base.
"The victim is the LGBTQ Pride intersection that was there, repeatedly talked about with contributions to the LGBTQ community."
Hoch, a former judge, says Delray Beach police had believed that the crime rose to the level of a hate crime.
"They also said that he did this with prejudice based on sexual orientation, which makes it a hate crime."
A witness told police that he heard someone in another vehicle yell "Tear up that gay intersection!"
We wanted to clear up something that Hoch said in a statement prior to our interview:
"If surveliiance [sic] cameras caught someone carving anti-Semitic slurs in the sidewalk in front of a store owned by a Jewish person in Delray Beach, don't you think State Attorney Aronberg would charge the person with a hate crime?"
We asked him if he was implying that Aronberg, who is Jewish, would make his decisions differently if this was a crime against the Jewish community.
"I just used that as an example because there are a lot of Jewish people in Delray Beach. There's probably a Kosher meat market or something in there, so I was looking for an analogy."
Hoch also wanted Jerich charged with Florida's new "Combatting Public Disorder" law, because it would mandate that he pay for the damages, if convicted.
Instead, the 20-year old faces felony criminal mischief of $1,000 or more and reckless driving charges. Jerich will be back in court next month.