RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A mural of Black tennis legend and Richmond, Virginia, native Arthur Ashe was defaced with insignias associated with a white nationalist group, police said Thursday.
Officers called Thursday morning to the city's Battery Park found the mural vandalized, police said.
“Hate will not be tolerated in Richmond," Police Chief Gerald Smith said in a news release. “We are asking for the public’s help by being another set of eyes on the murals and monuments of Richmond.”
It's the second time this week that a mural in Richmond has been defaced with such markings, police said. Police will monitor monuments and murals citywide. If damage from vandalism is $1,000 or more the person or persons responsible can be charged with a felony, police said.
Crews painted over the vandalism and the city immediately contacted Sir James Thornhill, one of the artists who had worked on the mural in 2017, WRIC-TV reported. Officials expressed hope that the mural could be repainted in coming months.
“Those responsible for this, and other like-minded shameful and cowardly acts, will be held accountable,” Mayor Levar Stoney said in a statement. “Let me be clear: Hate will not be tolerated in our city.”