TAKOMA PARK, Md (WDVM) – A DC artist is working to restore a pair of murals she painted in Takoma Park which were vandalized in December.
A woman was filmed on December 10, 2020, using a razor blade to scratch the paint off two murals decorating picnic tables near the Takoma Park Gazebo on Main Street.
The murals were painted by a DC artist, Tenbeete “Trap Bob” Solomon, commissioned by the Old Takoma Business Association.
“We’re appalled by it,” Executive Director of the Association Laura Barclay said. “And the fact that it was specifically a black woman’s face that was scratched off, the message of social justice was scratched off, a black woman artist’s signature was scratched off. So we think it was racially motivated.”
Takoma park commissioned Solomon to restore the murals, but she says the person responsible for the vandalism was never charged.
“They did identify her the following week after it happened, then we were waiting for the state to decide if charges were going to be brought,” Solomon said. “And we actually just found out on, I believe, Wednesday that they decided not to press charges. Which is incredibly disappointing but also not surprising, unfortunately.”
Maryland-National Capital Park Police were in charge of the investigation and said there was “no criminal bias” found during their investigation and recommended the case be referred to the Conflict Resolution Center of Montgomery County.
“Our decision was influenced by other factors that include information that is protected by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA),” the police statement said. “The Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office has reviewed this case and fully supports our decision.”
Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart said she was also disappointed with the decision.
“It offers no restitution to the artist or community and provides no acknowledgment or accountability of the harm done,” Stewart said. “I want to thank TrapBob for restoring the art work and I look forward to working with her, other artists, and members of our community to fight anti-Black racism.”
Solomon says she hopes to appeal the decision to pursue charges, but in the meantime hopes the restored murals will be left alone this time.
“I of course myself didn’t expect it to happen to me, but I do believe it happened for a reason,” Solomon said. “It’s so I can bring more perspective and more attention to this problem because it is happening every day.”