NEW YORK — Two women were arrested Saturday afternoon for smearing black paint across the “Black Lives Matter” mural outside Trump Tower, with a city cop injured after he slipped while grabbing one of the suspects, police said.
The chaotic scene, the third attack by vandals targeting the Midtown street art in a week, began around 3 p.m. when a car carrying four women and 10 cans of paint arrived at the Fifth Avenue site, according to witness/street artist Nina Khan and a photo of the vehicle.
A video captured one of the two Black women involved in the incident pouring paint on the street, then getting down on her knees and using gloved hands to spread paint across the mural.
“Refund the police!” the woman shouted as the cops moved in and an angry eyewitness shouted obscenities at her. “Refund the police! Jesus matters! Jesus matters! We will never support Black Lives Matter!”
One of the officers, trying to keep his feet in the wet paint, slipped and fell with a loud thump on his shoulder and head, the video showed. The scene later degenerated into a confrontation between supporters and opponents of President Trump.
“My whole body was shaking,” said Khan, who recorded 10 minutes of video. “It was very intense. I didn’t want the police to get hurt. I didn’t want anyone to get hurt.”
Julie Calb and her 15-year-old daughter Eleanor came to Manhattan from Larchmont to visit the mural, only to catch the tail end of the incident. The mural, with help from Mayor Bill de Blasio, went up last week — with vandals now three times targeting the “Black Lives Matter” message.
“I wanted to bring her and show her everything that’s going on,” said Julie Calb. “We’re very (much) for BLM. He’s not perfect, but we’re very proud of the mayor.”
Cops said the two women, ages 29 and 39, were arrested and likely to face charges of criminal mischief. The officer was taken to a nearby hospital and was expected to recover, police said.
The NYPD was still searching for the man who splashed red paint on the mural this past Monday before fleeing the scene.
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