Mural defaced at Garner Police Department headquarters
Posted October 18, 2015
Updated October 19, 2015
Garner, N.C. — A mural in progress at the new Garner Police Department headquarters was found vandalized Friday morning with the words "kill a cop, save a child."
Vandals used white spray paint to write on what was supposed to be an artistic addition to the new building.
Garner Police Chief Brandon Zuidema said it is hard to hide the anger or disgust.
"That someone would choose to not only deface a mural that is intended to be a community asset, but would deface it with the words kill a cop on it - it makes me sick," he said.
The mural artist, Vincent Wood discovered the vandalism when he arrived to work late last week.
"To get perspective, you step back and look at everything that you have done, and that's when I stepped back and I pulled the tarp back and I was like, 'Oh wow,'" Wood said.
Wood said he had been working on the mural for six weeks, but it is not the time lost that bothers him the most - it was having to tell the officers.
"You can't remove the memory of an officer in blue looking at the words that we looked at," Wood said.
Zuidema said he considers the vandalism a threat.
"No police officer has done anything anywhere to deserve to have a threat made against them," he said. "I consider this to be a hate crime."
The mural is a combination of various images and will serve as a tribute to the Garner community.
Wood said he will begin the mural again and that this vandalism motivates him to make the mural better.
"This is my town. I mean, I have painted murals all over the country," he said. "The last place you're going to defeat me is in my home town."
Zuidema does not believe that this act was intended to spark conversation, but said his door is open is a community member is displeased with how officers are policing the community.
The Garner Police Department has offered a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in this case.