A tall statue of Martin Luther King Jr. with his hands raised was destroyed in a park in California on the weekend of July 4th with a symbol of hatred.
The statue, intended to represent “hope and justice” in the city of Long Beach, about 25 miles south of Los Angeles, was spray-painted with swastikas and SS bolts. The graffiti was then cleaned by the city’s park and recreation department.
Long Beach police told USA TODAY on Monday that the case was being investigated as a hate crime. There were no suspects as of Monday night, police said.
Originally named 19th Avenue Park, Martin Luther King Jr. Park introduced a statue and a new name after the assassination of civil rights activists in 1968.
On twitterAl Austin II, a member of the Long Beach City Council, said he was “shocked and discouraged” by the vandalism.
“It’s annoying that this has happened in the core area of our LB Black community,” Austin tweeted.
The· AOC7 neighborhood group A peaceful rally was held on July 3, the day after police reported the call for vandalism, gathering residents and standing in front of the statue to share their feelings about vandalism.
“Thank you for joining us today and standing for peace!” Group Posted late that day On their Facebook page.
Mayor Robert Garcia Tweet on monday About the investigation that “I am trying to catch the person who did this terrible act.”
“Our MLK statue is a symbol of community hope and justice. This hatred and blasphemy is not in our city.”
This article was originally published in USA TODAY: The vandalism of the MLK Jr. statue prompts a hate crime investigation in California