A mural on the Southwest 34th Street wall for Terrell Bradley, who lost his eye to a Gainesville police K9 following a traffic stop, has become a battleground between calls for justice and symbols of white supremacy.
The initial mural, visible on Sunday, demanded Gainesville Police Department release the camera footage of the incident and fire the officers involved.
“No Justice No Peace,” it read, and called out the department’s chief, Lonnie Scott, by name: “We’re waiting Lonnie!”
By Thursday morning it had been painted over – not with anything new, as is common on the wall that has long served as an informal community message board. It was covered up with black paint.
On Thursday night, Bradley supporters painted it with a new message: “You can cover up our messages but you can’t stop our movement. It’s #JusticeForTerrellBradley Every. Damn. Day.”
By the middle of the night, it had been spray-painted over in blue. The call for justice was crossed through. “Sauwastika” and “peace” were scrawled around a swastika symbol.
“God Bless Derek Chauvin,” it read, praising the Minnesota police officer who was convicted of murdering George Floyd after kneeling on his neck for nine minutes while Floyd, handcuffed, repeatedly said he couldn’t breathe.
On Friday morning, Terrell Bradley joined community organizer Danielle Chanzes at the wall. With paint cans at his feet, he brushed over the hate symbols with black paint. He restored the letters spelling justice and his name.
The Southern Poverty Law Center identified 61 active hate groups in Florida, the second-highest in the country.
Last weekend, Gainesville residents reported finding antisemitic flyers on their driveways.
In December, the Associated Press reported that a U.S. Army veteran infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in north Florida to help the FBI root out white supremacists in Florida law enforcement at the city, county and state level.
He said he came across dozens of police officers, prison guards, sheriff deputies and other law enforcement officers in Florida and Georgia who were involved with the Klan, including a deputy with the Alachua County Sheriff’s Office who was subsequently fired.