President Donald Trump’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame was destroyed by a man with a pickax early Wednesday, according to Los Angeles police Officer Ray Brown.
Hollywood division officers responded to a call at 3:33 a.m. (6:33 a.m. ET) to the tourist area.
Patricia Cox, a witness, told CNN affiliate KCAL/KCBS that she saw a man “going to town” on the ground “like it was his business just to be tearing up the ground,” she said. “I thought it was work going on over here.”
Police later arrested Austin Clay, 24, on suspicion of felony vandalism. Brown said Clay did not reveal a motive for the alleged vandalism, and the investigation continues. He’s being held on $20,000 bail.
Video from KCAL/KCBS shows tourists taking photos of the defaced star in front of the Hollywood & Highland center, a major tourist spot in Hollywood.
Leron Gubler, president and CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, said in a statement that the Walk of Fame is “an institution celebrating the positive contributions of the inductees.
“When people are unhappy with one of our honorees, we would hope that they would project their anger in more positive ways than to vandalize a California State landmark,” Gubler said. “Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property.”
Trump’s star has repeatedly been the target of vandalism and protests since the reality TV star’s turn to politics. In April 2016, a Superman impersonator on Hollywood Boulevard said he had seen visitors make obscene gestures next to the star, deface it with paint and allow a dog to relieve itself on the landmark.
“People often stomp with anger on the star, others kick their heels over the star, and some spit. The last time, someone put a sticker over the star,” Francisco Javier, another street performer who was dressed like Superman, said at the time.
A street artist constructed a tiny wall around Trump’s star in July 2016, and that October Los Angeles police arrested a man who they said vandalized the star with a sledgehammer and a pickax.