Anti-police vandalism, denial of BLM mural have residents concerned

NOW: Anti-police vandalism, denial of BLM mural have residents concerned

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -- Officials are investigating vandalism on the Silver Beach pier with profanities against police and the phrase “Blue Lives Don’t Matter.”

“Of course blue lives matter, we owe them a great deal,” said Benton Harbor resident Sharon Brown, “To see this today – which is the opposite of the beautiful souls and people making humanity a priority – I’m sorry, I’m ashamed.”

The Army Corps of Engineers is now investigating as the pier is federal property.

This happening the same week St. Joseph’s city council had to decide on a request for a Black Lives Matter mural outside the high school, similar to the one painted by Benton Harbor High School last month.

That request being denied due to a legality conflict.

“By allowing anybody to paint any slogan on a city street would prevent us from having any control of future requests and it’s all based on First Amendment rights,” said Mayor Mike Garey, “The city commission is now moving forward, working with partners who supported the concept to create a better solution.”

Some residents wishing the people’s vote was taken more into consideration – including the St. Joseph High School students who spoke in favor of the mural at the commission meeting.

“For them to want a Black Lives Matter sign, that was their tool that they felt for their voices to be heard,” said Sharon.

And saying both of this week’s instances show the work that needs to be done on both sides in the Twin Cities.

“We’re stepping toward something that’s going to benefit everybody so as we go forward we have to be open, we have to continue toward that goal of having everything equal for everyone,” said Benton Harbor resident Mack Brown.

The city of St. Joseph does assure residents that the mural’s denial was strictly from a legality stand point and that they are working on other ideas to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

As for the vandalism against police on the pier, the Army Corps of Engineers is still searching for suspects.

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