Martin Luther King Jr. Statue Vandalised With Swastika
Police in California have launched a hate crime investigation after a statue of Martin Luther King Jr. was vandalised with a swastika and SS bolts.
The Long Beach Police Department responded at 3.15pm local time on July 2 to a report about the vandalism of the statue, which is located at King Park at 1950 Lemon Ave.
Depicting civil rights activist King Jr. with his hand raised forward, the statue was installed in 1986 in a park that is also named after the icon.
Allison Gallagher, a spokesperson for the police department, did not give a description of the graffiti because of the ongoing investigation, but images shared on social media indicate it consisted of a black swastika that had been painted on to the front of the statue, as well as SS bolts.
The graffiti was removed by a city cleaning crew following the report, and police launched their investigation, though Gallagher said there is no available information about a suspect who may be responsible for the vandalism, the Los Angeles Times reports.
In the wake of the graffiti, neighbourhood group AOC7 organised a ‘Stand for the Peace Rally’, which took place on Saturday and was attended by a number community members, including Assistant Police Chief Wally Hebeish and Commander Ty Burford.
Attendees shared their feelings about the vandalism and held signs protesting the hate crime, with one reading ‘No Room for Hate in Long Beach’, while another said, ‘White Silence Is Violence’.
Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia addressed the vandalism in a tweet posted yesterday, July 5, describing the act as ‘horrific’.
Over the holiday weekend our MLK statue at King Park was vandalized with horrific graffiti. The LBPD are investigating this as a hate crime and we are working to catch whoever committed this awful act.
Our MLK statue is a symbol of hope and justice for the community. This hate and desecration has no place in our city.
Al Austin II, a member of the Long Beach City Council, described himself as being ‘shocked and disheartened’ by the vandalism, adding, ‘It’s troubling that this act happened in a core area of our LB Black community.’
The statue in King Park has been targeted before, with a plaque at the base of the statue having been stolen in 2019. It quoted King, reading, ‘We must use time creatively … and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right’
The city replaced the plaque earlier this year.
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article and wish to speak to someone in confidence, contact Stop Hate UK by visiting their website www.stophateuk.org/talk
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