DOTD paints over swastika on Vermilion River bridge

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – You have probably seen it but didn’t know it’s a bigger deal than most people may think.

We’re talking about graffiti; it’s not just an eyesore, it’s a crime.

Imagine coming to dinner, looking out at the Vermillion and suddenly seeing a swastika painted on the bridge. Well unfortunately, some residents had to endure that this past weekend.

So, how is this destruction of property handled?

“It is considered a criminal damage to property,” said Lafayette Police’s public information officer Karl Ratcliff, “So it is a crime for them to damage that property by defacing it.”

The image was recently painted on the Vermilion bridge off of Pinhook road near Outback Steak House.

As of today, the image was covered up by the Department of Transportation and Development.

“Because that is a state route and DOTD does maintain that bridge we did notify our crews here in the district,” said DOTD public information officer Diedre Druilhet, “they actually went out and painted over the symbol that was underneath the bridge.”

Some graffiti images are left with a tag or a signature, which allows the police to have a better understanding of who the violator might be.

“If we have information to identify someone that’s responsible, we have some kind of evidence,” said Ratcliff.

In this case, no tag was left.

As for the vandal painting an image associated with hate, well according to Ratcliff, when it comes to sentencing, that won’t make a difference.

“There’s nothing in the law that makes it a stiffer penalty because it is offensive,” he said, “It’s still just going to be a simple criminal damage to property by defacing of graffiti charge.”

Both Ratcliff and Druilhet encourage people to report this vandalization when you see it.

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