Charges, including hate crime charges, are possible for the person or persons who defaced the Fort Worth Police and Firefighters Memorial, the city's police union president says.
The cleanup effort at the memorial along West 7th Street started Monday and featured ordinary citizens who showed up hoping to erase the vandalism.
Among the volunteers was a Fort Worth native who said he understands the hurt behind the recent events, but was adamant: This is not the answer.
The vandals spray painted anti-police rhetoric like "F**K 12" and "ACAB" across several stones on the memorial grounds.
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“For me, memorials and stuff like that are just off limits,” Mark Houston said.
Houston heard the memorial was vandalized and spray painted with "BLM."
“I’m a black man in America I get it, right,” he said. “I have the fortunate vantage point of having police officers in my family, so I kind of see both sides.”
Houston said he decided it was his duty to "bridge the gap." He showed up with his own cleaning supplies and began to clean up the vandalism.
“Something like this will just detract from the message that people are trying to peacefully protest for,” he said.
Michael Glynn is the president of Fort Worth Firefighters Local 440.
“Mark is a salt of the earth. We’ve had a great time talking about what’s going on in the world,” Glynn said.
Glynn said he also spoke with a woman and her three children who arrived to clean up earlier in the day.
“I feel really confidentially that we treat everyone fairly and equally and that we do the best for everyone,” he said. “This hurt. This really is a kind of a kick in the gut.”
Manny Ramirez is the president of the Fort Worth Police Officers’ Association.
“We cannot demean the memory of people who honorably served and gave their lives for this city and for this country. It’s gone too far,” Ramirez said. “Each name that’s on that wall represents a family. A family that these officers left behind whenever they laid down their lives for service to the city and that’s what it’s so difficult to process that someone would make that a target for attack.”
The Fort Worth Police Department is investigating the vandalism.
There are several security cameras in the area that may have captured the vandals defacing the memorial, according to Ramirez.
Anyone with information is urged to call FWPD.