A statue of Martin Luther King Jr. in California was vandalized with “horrific graffiti” in a despicable act that’s being investigated as a hate crime, officers say.
Lengthy Seashore Mayor Robert Garcia mentioned the likeness of the civil rights icon at Martin Luther King Jr. Park was defaced over the July Fourth vacation weekend.
“The LBPD are investigating this as a hate crime and we’re working to catch whoever dedicated this terrible act,” Garcia tweeted Monday. “Our MLK statue is an emblem of hope and justice for the group. This hate and desecration has no place in our metropolis.”
A photograph posted to Twitter confirmed the statue spray-painted with what seemed to be a swastika and SS bolts — two frequent neo-Nazi and white supremacy symbols, in response to the Anti-Defamation League.
“That is the second time in two years that the Martin Luther King Jr. statue has been vandalized because it’s been up at MLK Park right here in Lengthy Seashore,” the tweet learn. “This metropolis has a significant hidden white supremacists concern and it must be addressed ASAP.”
A Lengthy Seashore police spokesman advised The Submit that cops responded to the park Friday afternoon for a report of hate- or bias-motivated vandalism and found graffiti on the entrance of the statue.
The graffiti was later eliminated by town’s Parks and Recreation Division, spokesman Richard Mejia mentioned.
“The incident is being investigated as a hate crime,” Mejia wrote in an e-mail. “No suspect data is accessible.”
The hateful graffiti is “no small concern,” Assistant Police Chief Wally Hebeish advised the Lengthy Seashore Submit.
“We’re taking this as critically because it must be,” Hebeish mentioned.
Metropolis officers changed a plaque on the base of the statue in February that had been stolen in 2019, the Los Angeles Instances reported. The likeness of King was reportedly put in on the acre-plus park in 1986.
“We should use this time creatively … and eternally notice that the time is all the time ripe to do proper,” the plaque quoting King learn.
Activists held a “Stand for Peace” rally on the park Saturday whereas calling for an finish to hate within the California metropolis southwest of Los Angeles. Some folks held indicators studying, “White silence is violence,” KTLA reported.
“Our hearts have been damaged once we noticed the posts on social media,” organizer Mary Simmons advised the Lengthy Seashore Submit. “We are able to stand by and do nothing, or we are able to rise up in opposition to it.”