Garner chief: Anti-police graffiti cowardly, a hate crime
Posted October 19, 2015
Garner, N.C. — A visibly upset Garner chief of police said Monday that vandalism to a mural at the new Garner Police Department headquarters with the words "kill a cop, save a child" must be interpreted as a threat to his officers.
"It's absolutely a hate crime. It's targeting police officers," Garner Police Chief Brandon Zuidema said.
Zuidema said the same phrase was found sprayed on doors and walls in the 500 block of Village Court Monday morning.
Mural artist Vincent Wood discovered when he arrived to work on Friday that vandals had sprayed the phrase in white on his work-in-progress.
Although police have not shared any information about leads in either case, Zuidema said the message is not representative of his community.
"This is an individual or individuals, cowards if you will, acting under the anonymity they have to share an awful and disgusting message," he said.
"They may live here, but they're not a part of who this community is or what we're about."
With the second incident, the city has boosted to $5,000 a reward for information leading to the culprits.
Zuidema estimated that cleaning and repairing the mural would cost Wood an additional 40 to 50 hours of work and $2,000 in expenses. To keep those costs from falling on the taxpayers, Zuidema said the town has started an online crowdfunding campaign.
The town has added lights, around-the-clock security and fences at the site of the new headquarters, but, because the building is not complete, surveillance cameras which might have caught the vandals in action are not yet installed.
"We shouldn't have to do that," Zuidema said of the stepped-up security measures.