Richmond Police Memorial statue removed from Byrd Park after being vandalized

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A memorial honoring Richmond police officers killed in the line of duty was moved from Byrd Park on Thursday, video sent to 8News shows, after it was vandalized. The move comes after multiple statues across the state were toppled by protesters.

The statue was brought down as a precaution, following multiple nights of vandalism, according to retired officer Glenwood Burley. He was on hand, as the statue, still drenched in red spray paint, was hoisted away from its home in Byrd Park to an undisclosed location.

WATCH: Richmond Police Memorial statue removed from Byrd Park after being vandalized

“I don’t know what the feeling is for it,” Burley said about the statue drawing the attention of vandals. “It’s a despicable act, it’s incomprehensible.”

The Richmond Police Memorial statue, which was moved to Byrd park in 2016, was vandalized and covered in paint following protests in the wake of George Floyd’s death and growing calls for Virginia’s Confederate monuments to be removed.

Paired with the statue is a plague that lists the names of 39 Richmond police officers who died in the line of duty. Penn Burke’s grandfathers’ name – J. Harvey Burke—killed in 1925 – is seen on the plaque that remains unmoved. He told 8News while he backs the cause of those looking for racial justice, he doesn’t condone demonstrations getting out of hand, however.

“To take a protest and let it spill over to acts of violence, acts of looting, acts of vandalism; that I think is losing the message of an honest, sincere protest,” Burke added.

Mayor Levar Stoney’s spokesman, James Nolan, told 8News the memorial “will be repaired and restored before it is returned to public display.”

Gov. Ralph Northam ordered that the Robert E. Lee statue on Monument Avenue be removed as soon as possible last week, but that effort was put on hold following two lawsuits.

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