Graffiti that reads "kill white people" and "black lives matter" has angered residents in Florida's Hillsborough County after protesters left the message at two seperate locations. Police were investigating this week the graffiti markings found in Brandon, a small community near Tampa in central Florida, according to media reports.
"It’s uncalled for, there’s a way to protest, there’s a way not to, this is just, it hurts everybody," local resident Cat D'Alessandro told reporters. "I was kind of sad really because why does it have to be like, why does it have to get to this."
The Hillsborough County Sheriff's office said the unidentified protesters also defaced a Donald Trump campaign sign in a local yard. Local resident Stacy Hatfield said the vandalism was an attack on others' free speech.
"Yeah I’m pissed off, very pissed, because this just ruined our paint job and it makes our neighborhood look like trash now," Stacy Hatfield told reporters. "We didn’t know we was discriminating anybody obviously we offended somebody.”
The Black Lives Matter social justice movement has peacefully called for police reforms across the country amid a growing number of police killings of black men and women. At times, however, their supporters have incited riots and violence. It's unclear if the graffitti attack in the Tampa metropolitan area was carried out by Black Lives Matters supporters.
The Tampa area has a growing number of Black Lives Matter activists. Dozens of protesters blocked traffic while marching down a busy intersection in Tampa in July to protest police brutality.
"It is our duty to fight for our freedom," Black Lives Matter Tampa chapter president Donna Davis told the crowd at the time. "We must love and support each other."
Rita Sledge, 62, told reporters the social justice movement carried a positive message, the Tampa Bay Times reported. "Why am I targeted?" she asked. "Why am I not seen as human?"
Tampa's population is roughly 26 percent black, compared with the national average of black residents of about 13 percent, according to the Census.