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'Back the Blue' mural painted outside Tampa Police Department not properly permitted, mayor says

The mural was painted by a group of about 40 people who wanted to show support to the department.
Credit: WTSP

TAMPA, Fla. — A message painted outside the Tampa Police Department over the weekend is meant to be a show of support: "Back the Blue."

The mayor, however, said no one went through the proper permitting process.

The mural was created quietly overnight Saturday by a group of about 40 people who wanted to show support to the department. Two groups headed the project, Back the Blue Florida and Community Patriots of Tampa.

“We had people that were just walking past the site while we were working last night who picked up rollers and joined in with us and while they did that, they would send messages back home to people who were with law enforcement," said organizer Kelli Campbell with Back the Blue Florida.

The mural is on East Madison Street, right next to the department.   

“This is a very visible, very big statement that says we are here," Campbell said. "There are many of us. We care about you. We care about you going out every day putting your life on the line for us.  

"We support everything that you are doing, and that we know that the majority of law enforcement are good people."

The mural was not a project affiliated with the city of Tampa's mural program, and the city said it was "unfortunate" the proper process was not followed.

"Any tribute to honor their service is welcome. It’s unfortunate they didn’t see the permitting process through so that our community could participate in showing their appreciation for the brave men and women that service our residents every day," Tampa Mayor Jane Castor said in a statement.

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