Vandals deface police memorial with paint, 'Justice for Alton' message

RICHMOND, Va. -- A red, spray painted X was discovered on a police memorial statue in Richmond, Virginia Wednesday morning. The words "JUSTICE FOR ALTON" were also painted along the base, and red paint also covered the faces of the officer and child on the statue.

Alton Sterling was shot and killed by police officers outside a store in Baton Rouge, Louisiana last week.

Richmond Police Deputy Chief Steve Drew called the incident unfortunate. He said crews would clean up the mess within 24 hours and the department would move on.

The vandalism comes days after a weekend threat phoned in to police was deemed not credible by Richmond Police and hours after hundreds of people filled the Martin Luther King Jr. Middle School auditorium for a conversation about ending violence.

Drew called the vandalism not representative of the relationship between police and the Richmond community.

On Tuesday, Richmond Police tweeted a photo of the memorial and thanked those who have placed flowers there in the wake of the shooting deaths of five Dallas officers.

Richmond Police recently moved the memorial to Byrd Park from its previous home outside the Richmond Coliseum. The move was made to give the memorial a more prominent spot.

"For 28 years, the Police Memorial Statue stood under the trees in a corner of Festival Park. Some thought the statue didn't get the appreciation it deserved there," Richmond Police posted on YouTube. "Thanks to the Relocation Committee - it took a journey Friday, June 24, to its new site in Byrd Park - where it will enjoy greater visibility."