A statue commemorating fallen police officers was removed from Richmond, Virginia’s Byrd Park after being vandalized this week, just days after protesters ripped down a nearby statue of explorer Christopher Columbus and dumped it in a lake.
Penn Burke, whose own grandfather was a police officer killed in the line of duty in 1925, helped raise money to erect the monument. The statue depicts a police officer carrying a child in his arms, its base marked by a plaque that includes the names of dozens of fallen officers - including Burke's grandfather. He told local news outlets that a “proactive decision was made” to temporarily relocate the statue after protesters toppled and destroyed several other statues in the park.
"This pulling them over on your own, that's not the right way to handle it," Burke said. "We thought it would be best to take the statue, put it in safe storage and let tempers cool down and let people come to their senses."
Burke added that he’d originally planned to clean the statue up after it was vandalized with paint – until he saw protesters had toppled a statue of Columbus. He then decided it was best to remove the statue to keep it from being destroyed.
The statue will be stored in a safe location and polished clean until it can be put back in its original place in Byrd Park.