Kevin Young, 28, says he wasn't paid by any political campaign to deface a Francis Suarez mayoral campaign sign. NBC 6's Claudia DoCampo has the story.
The man arrested for defacing one of Miami Commissioner Francis Suarez's mayoral campaign signs is defending his actions a day after police say they caught him red-handed.
Miami Police say they found 28-year-old Kevin Young spelling out the word 'fraud' on the sign that was in the area of Biscayne Boulevard and NE 34th Street on Saturday.
"I did this because this is what I believe in, I believe in taking action," Young said.
Young also wrote "RIP Reefa" on the sign, referring to teenager Israel Hernandez who died after a Miami Beach Police officer used a Taser on him.
Suarez has been recently criticized for making a statement regarding Hernandez's death in a Facebook post. In the statement, he sends condolences to the Hernandez family and in part comments on current Mayor Tomas Regalado's response to the incident. Suarez is running against Regalado in the mayoral election in November.
"Suarez was trying to capitalize on the death of the young man Israel Hernandez who went by the name of Reefa," Young said. "It's a crime and a tragedy that a political campaign would use somebody's death as political capital."
However, the commissioner told NBC 6 that the message was misunderstood.
"It was not done with any intention to impact the family or make the family disconcerted or upset," he said.
Meanwhile, he hinted that his opponents have been the ones behind the defaced signs.
"It's inexcusable that my opponent's campaign has resorted to destroying my signs," Suarez said. "What I want to focus on is the future of the city. "
Young responded by saying he hadn't been paid by anybody to write on the sign. Yet, it turns out that Young is a campaign volunteer for a third mayoral candidate, Jeff Benjamin.
"I don't personally advocate people go about defacing signs but you know that's what artists do, that's their thing, that's life," Benajmin said.
Young was released on $1000 bond for criminal mischief charges Sunday morning. He was also being held on a warrant for illegally camping in Monroe County, but paid the bail on that charge as well.
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