A Michael Brown memorial was vandalized over the weekend in Ferguson, Missouri. On Saturday, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association planted a tree in memorial of the late teenager, who was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson last August. Less than 24 hours later, vandals had cut down the Michael Brown memorial tree and stolen a dedication plaque that was placed at the base of the tree. City officials replaced the tree on Monday.
After the tree was found chopped at the trunk with the dedication plaque missing, Ferguson officials issued a statement on Monday about the act of vandalism:
Officers canvassed the area talking to anyone who might have seen or heard anything related to the incident. No witnesses were located, and at this time police have no leads. An investigation into the incident is ongoing, and the City of Ferguson is replacing the trees today.
The sapling was donated by the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, an advocacy group promoting the development of library services for the African-American community, who gathered on Saturday at January-Wabash Memorial Park to plant the tree. Just hours later, the tree was chopped down.According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police believe the tree was damaged sometime late Saturday night or early Sunday morning. The vandalism was first noticed by an officer patrolling the park on Sunday.
Another tree planted in memory of a resident's deceased pet was also chopped down, and its dedication plaque was also stolen. Both saplings have been replanted by city officials on Monday, and the plaques will be replaced later this week. So far, officers don't have any leads or witnesses to the crime.
This is not the first time a Michael Brown memorial was vandalized. In September, one of two memorials set up on Canfield Drive, where the teen was shot and killed, was mysteriously set on fire and burned down.
The incident sparked fresh protests in the town during a time when relations between the community and its law enforcement was at an all-time low. Many residents believed that the fire had been started by officers themselves, refusing to accept reports that the candles in the memorial had ignited the memorial. At the time, the Department of Justice's investigation was ongoing and the state grand jury had yet to announce Wilson's verdict.
So far, this weekend's act of vandalism has yet to start any protests in Ferguson. One resident told St. Louis's KMOV-TV:
I can’t understand why someone would want to cut down the tree. What, they want to start something back up again?
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