Residents of Kansas City came out on Saturday to support local police and clean up after protesters who vandalized a statue honoring fallen officers outside police headquarters the night before.
The statue, erected in honor of 119 Kansas City police officers who lost their lives serving their city, was marred with spray painted anti-police slogans—a discouraging sight for the volunteers who arrived the next day.
“I was horrified,” Joshua McDonald told ABC. “It is hard for me to understand why people want to come through, and they want to desecrate a memorial to officers who have fallen defending them.”
Friday night, 150 protesters gathered at the police headquarters and allegedly sprayed words such as “No room 4 fascists” and “Abolish KCPD” on the memorial, as well as on the doors of the building.
Several people were arrested for causing property damage and assaulting officers, KCPD stated. The officers suffered minor injuries, while one protester was hurt from tripping while running, according to ABC.
Tracy Meyers-Keeling was also among the volunteers who came to help clean up. Meyers-Keeling’s father is among the 119 fallen officers memorialized on the statue.
“It’s heartbreaking and knowing what my dad has to look down on,” she shared. “It tears me apart. This is just putting us right back to the day I found out my dad was killed.”
“The initial protest, as we understood, was meant to be an opposition of Operation Legend,” said Kansas City police officer Jake Becchina, referring to the federal initiative to support local and state law enforcement. “It involves a few hundred of our federal officers to aid in the violent crime challenges our city is seeing.
“It’s really unfortunate, too, for the protesters, because many of them want to come out peacefully and have message heard.”
Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas, who witnessed the protest at police headquarters, said he was “saddened” by what transpired.
“It’s causing division,” the mayor stated. “I don’t understand why people would think that this would be the way to address things.”
On Saturday, volunteers gathered to show support and quickly set to work washing off the spray paint.
Mayor Lucas, who was also there, weighed in again on the protest.
“I think the type of person who comes here and paints a memorial to deceased people who died in the line of duty is the type of person who has no respect for any institution,” the mayor said. “They’re not interested in making black lives better in Kansas City.”
We would love to hear your stories! You can share them with us at firstname.lastname@example.org