Artist statement in Victoria mural vandalized, police say
VANCOUVER -- Police in Victoria say a controversial mural in their city has been vandalized.
Officers were called to the "More Justice, More Peace" mural in Bastion Square shortly after 10 a.m. Saturday, police said in a news release.
When they arrived, they found that one of the letters in the mural had been vandalized with spray paint, police said, adding that witnesses told them the suspect had arrived on a motorcycle.
The vandalized letter has been a source of controversy since the mural debuted. When it was first painted, artists included the letters ACAB - short for All Cops are Bastards or All Cops are Bad - in their design, prompting criticism from the city's police chief and the mural's sponsor.
Recently, the artists modified the letter to remove the offending acronym by painting over it in black and adding a message decrying censorship.
“This letter has been censored by the City of Victoria influenced by the Victoria Police Department," the artists wrote. "In doing so, Victoria is contributing to the silencing of Black and Indigenous voices and experiences across this land.”
The message was agreed upon by both the BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, people of colour) artists who created the mural and city staff after several discussions.
Victoria Police Chief Del Manak issued a statement on Friday calling the revised mural "as offensive, if not more so, than the original anti-police rhetoric in the initial artwork."
Police describe the suspect in Saturday's vandalism as "an adult-aged" white man with a medium build. He stands approximately 5'8" and was wearing a multi-coloured motorcycle helmet, a blue vest over a green sweater and dark cargo pants, police said.
The suspect rode a red and white motorcycle, and police released two photos of him Saturday. They ask anyone who recognizes the man or has information about the incident to call the Victoria police non-emergency line at 250-995-7654, extension 1. Tips can also be provided anonymously via Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.