WASHINGTON (DC News Now) — Jason Taylor was walking out of District Alley on U Street in Northwest D.C. at about 5 p.m. Sunday when he saw a man spray-painting over part of the Paul Robeson mural.

Robeson was an athlete, performer, and civil rights activist.

Taylor immediately took out his phone and recorded the vandalism he was seeing and his interaction with the person he said defaced the mural, which offers a timeline of Robeson’s life.

Taylor’s video gained a lot of attention on social media in a short length of time.

“Immediately we were saying, ‘Hey man, stop doing that. Why are you doing that?’ But we didn’t immediately approach him or try to stop him for safety reasons. We didn’t know if he had a weapon. We didn’t know what his mental state was like. So, I thought in that moment, let’s be safe,” said Taylor.

“These murals are so important, they represent not only D.C. culture, but Black culture. Notable Black figures in our history that have made an impact on the world,” said Taylor.

Taylor said he saw a police officer nearby and told him about what was happening.

“As soon as the police officer approached him, he fled on his skateboard,” said Taylor.

Artists from ART BLOC DC, LLC created the mural back in 2015. The mural was commissioned for the exterior of the building housing the Hung Tao Choi Mei Leadership Academy and Universal Capoeira Academy at 1351 U St. NW.

Living Timeline: Paul Robeson is the first mural in the United States to use an augmented reality application to extend the experience of the viewer. It enables people to scan the mural’s surface with their phones and access archival videos and original content that gives broader context to the unique life of Robeson.

“I found a great sense of joy in being able to bring this story into the community. I felt like the conversations that were had around the creation of it were very important. What does it look like when you have leaders who have been marginalized, who have been pushed to the side and what does it look like when you bring them back to the center of the community conversation,” said Cory Lee Stowers, the Art Director of ART BLOC DC.

Stowers said it’s not the first time the mural has been vandalized since its installation eight years ago. The focus of the group now is to figure out how to restore the mural or if something else is meant for the space.

“I have to assess the damage and see if it’s actually possible to bring it back. Worst case scenario, we have an opportunity to reimagine what that space could be, whether it’s bringing back the timeline the way it was intended, or it is reinterpreting it and bringing something new into the community,” said Stowers.