LOS ANGELES (CNS) - A Glendale man accused of smashing President Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame with a pickaxe was charged today with felony vandalism. Austin Mikel Clay, 24, is set to be arraigned downtown Aug. 15. If convicted as charged, he could face up to three years in jail, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.
At about 3:30 a.m. July 25, police were alerted to the vandalism on Hollywood Boulevard near Highland Avenue. Witnesses told ABC7 a man carrying a guitar case pulled a pickaxe from the case and broke up the star. After bashing through the plaque, the man called police and advised he had vandalized Trump's star, the Los Angeles Times reported. He said, ``See you soon'' before leaving the scene, Lt. Karen Leong of the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollywood Division told the newspaper.
About an hour later, officials say he walked up to Beverly Hills police headquarters, identified himself and said he wanted to turn himself in. It was the second time Trump's star has been vandalized in less than two years. In October 2016 a man dressed as a construction worker smashed the star with a pickaxe and sledgehammer. James Otis pleaded no contest to felony vandalism in February 2017 and was sentenced to three years probation, 20 days of community service and agreed to pay $4,400 for the damage.
Following the vandalism, the CEO of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce, which administers the Walk of Fame, urged would-be vandals to vote if they wanted to make a political statement.
``The Hollywood Walk of Fame is an institution celebrating the positive contributions of the inductees,'' said president and CEO Leron Gubler.
``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. Our democracy is based on respect for the law. People can make a difference by voting and not destroying public property.''Two West Hollywood politicians, however, would like to see the star removed.
West Hollywood Mayor Pro Tem John D'Amico and Councilwoman Lindsey Horvath have offered a resolution urging the Hollywood Chamber and the city of Los Angeles to remove the president's star ``due to his disturbing treatment of women and other actions that do not meet the shared values of the City of West Hollywood, the region, state, and country.''The West Hollywood City Council was scheduled to vote on the matter Monday night, but does not have the authority to take action.
The chamber has never removed a marker from the Walk of Fame and turned down a 2015 request to remove comedian Bill Cosby's star.