A memorial dedicated to fallen police officers in Portland, Oregon, was vandalized this week, according to the Portland Police Association.
In a statement on Facebook, the association’s president Sgt. Aaron Schmautz said the memorial in Tom McCall Waterfront Park was damaged at some point in the night on Tuesday. Individual plaques dedicated to fallen officers were missing pictures, and names had been scratched out.
Schmautz called the destruction “startling and ugly” and said whoever is responsible for it is foolish and shortsighted.
“As a current member of Honor Guard, my heart is dismayed at such a cowardly and foolish act. The Police Memorial stands as an enduring reminder of the ultimate sacrifice paid by heroes in Portland who gave their lives to defend strangers in our community. Each of these individuals are also etched on the wall of the national memorial in Washington DC.,” Schmautz said.
Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell told Fox 12 Oregon the vandalism is “senseless, destructive and intentional,” adding that the attempt to “dishonor” the memory of those who lost their lives serving the city of Portland is “disgraceful.”
“This memorial honors heroes—people who had the courage to give their lives while serving the City of Portland. No amount of destruction can erase their legacy. My heart goes out to the families and loved ones of the people named on the memorial,” Lovell told the outlet.
As of Thursday evening, an arrest had not been made in connection with the vandalism.
Schmautz called on the city of Portland to assist in the rebuilding process, ensuring the place of remembrance would be restored.
“The memory of those who are named there is ingrained in the very bedrock of our city. It is carried in the hearts and on every patch and badge worn by the officers who stand watch now, carrying on their mission. No foolish or cowardly act can change that,” he said. “They will be remembered. Those who flit around in the shadows to destroy will not.”
Portland City Council released the following statement to local media condemning the act and committing to the memorial’s reconstruction:
“The Portland City Council condemns the despicable vandalization of the Portland Police Memorial, a site that honors Portland Police Officers who died in the line of duty. The memorial has stood on Portland’s Waterfront Park for nearly 30 years in recognition of their service to Portlanders. This ugly criminal act seeks only to fuel divisive and destructive rhetoric that is not representative of who we are as a city. We at City Council will work together with the Portland Police Historical Society to ensure the memorial is restored. We recognize the hardworking public safety personnel who work to keep our community safe every day and honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.”
The memorial, built in 1994, is located near the Hawthorne Bridge. There are 29 Portland police members on the wall ranging from the first killed in 1867 and the most recent in 2002.
Schmautz said donations can be made to the Portland Police Historical Society for rebuilding efforts. He said the organization is responsible for managing the memorial and museum, and is not directly affiliated with the police bureau.
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