An inflammatory graffiti display threatening President Donald Trump was found on a wall on the shoulder of eastbound Interstate 8 has been partially covered up, California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers said.
The graffiti, which reads “Murder Trump ASAP...", is located in between Los Coches Road and Lake Jennings Park Road in San Diego County.
NBC 7 was made aware of the graffiti on Saturday and confirmed its existence at around 7:50 p.m. PST. It is unknown how long the graffiti has been up.
Since then, CHP officers have begun the process of covering up the graffiti. Sunday morning, CHP officials said they partially covered up the graffiti this morning, and CalTrans officials will cover up the rest.
As of Sunday morning, no complaints had been filed with the San Diego County Sheriff's Office, which has acknowledged that the location of the graffiti is within its jurisdiction.
Criminal defense lawyer Vik Monder told NBC 7 that the person behind the graffiti can be prosecuted under California State Law Penal Code 422, California's criminal threat law, only "if it was intended to entice a hate crime or criminal act."
Monder said if it was meant to entice violence, then the culprit's First Amendment protection is voided. A federal charge would be brought under Title 18 section 871, or Presidential Threat Protection Act of 2000.
Nearby resident Rex McNeil recognizes freedom of speech, but feels the graffiti may have gone overboard.
“I'm disappointed," McNeil said. "Not even being a citizen, I'm extremely disappointed that we would have that. We have freedom of speech but you can’t just say and do anything you'd like to do. There are still limits as far as that's concerned and this is definitely over the line."
Other residents of the area were fearful of the graffiti's potential impact on their children.
"I'm shocked," Jeremy Axelson said. "I don’t want my kids to see something like that on their way going to school, why do we want to, why do we want to murder the president?"