LA Police Commission president on Trump star comment: 'Not meant to be taken seriously'

Donald Trump's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame has had a rough year, thanks to repeated acts of vandalism, but does the president of the Los Angeles Police Commission really support such defacement?

Not at all, he said Tuesday, insisting that comments he made to a TMZ photographer Monday night were "flippant'' and said in a joking manner.

"Walking out of a restaurant last night, I made some flippant comments to a TMZ reporter that were certainly not meant to be taken seriously,'' Matt Johnson said Tuesday. "I regret the comments -- because while I may have my disagreements with the president, I of course do not condone vandalism or any other criminal act.''

On Monday, Johnson laughed and had a smile on his face when he was asked outside a West Hollywood restaurant by a TMZ cameraman what he thought of the attacks on Trump's sidewalk star on Hollywood Boulevard.

"I'm in favor of it,'' he said with a laugh and a smile, turning and walking toward his car.

The TMZ photographer, also laughing, then asked if Johnson thinks the star should be removed.

"I'm definitely in favor of getting rid of the star,'' Johnson said, again with a laugh, as he got into his car.

The Police Commission, which Johnson leads, is the civilian panel that oversees the Los Angeles Police Department.

In his statement Tuesday, Johnson said vandalizing a star on the Walk of Fame is not the way to make a political statement.

"If individuals are inclined to protest him or his policies, there are far more appropriate and effective means of doing so,'' he said.

Trump's star has seen its share of action since the real estate baron began his presidential campaign. A street artist once built a small border wall around the star, mocking Trump's proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Vandals once scrawled swastikas on the star, and businessman James Otis in October took a sledge hammer to the sign and made off with the brass-colored name plate -- earning him a felony conviction and three years on probation.

Most recently, somebody placed a gold-colored toilet alongside the star.

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