ROCHESTER, Minn. — A 26-year-old medical student with roots in Rochester, Minn., is believed to have defaced the mural of George Floyd on the side of Cup Foods in south Minneapolis with spray paint Tuesday night, Aug. 18.
The Minnesota Reformer, a nonprofit, independent news organization, reported that after a few social media posts with “one blurry photo and the name Daniel,” the internet had identified him as Rochester medical student Daniel Michelson.
“It was a stupid thing he did," Michelson's father, Joel Michelson, told the Reformer. "He was drunk and he didn’t know what he was doing. He’s a very good kid, he’s very responsible, was under a lot of stress and over-imbibed and did the most stupid thing he’s ever done in his life, in any of our lives.”
Joel Michelson said his son is “in a safe place” and is working on reconciliation.
“He wants to do everything he can to make restitution,” he said.
Joel Michelson did not return phone calls from Forum News Service for comment.
Daniel Michelson told the Reformer he had gotten drunk alone in his apartment and “didn’t realize what I was doing.”
“This is definitely a turning point for me,” he said.
Floyd was killed at the hands of Minneapolis police outside a neighborhood grocery store at 38th Street and Chicago Avenue after an employee called 911 to report that he allegedly passed a fake $20 bill. The colorful mural, painted soon after his death, became the backdrop to Floyd’s memorial service, nearly daily rallies and countless social media posts.
The vandalism comes as a Minneapolis City Council committee was expected to provide an update about a possible phased reopening of 38th and Chicago, which has been closed to vehicles since Floyd’s death, according to the Star Tribune. The city has allocated $100,000 to create a permanent memorial at the site.