Law enforcement memorial chalked-up in protest of Patrick Lyoya shooting
ST. JOSEPH, Mi. -- A Berrien County memorial for officers killed in the line of duty was chalked up with various anti-police slogans and messages-- all in reference to the recent killing of Patrick Lyoya.
Lyoya was killed by a Grand Rapids police officer during a struggle, in which the officer managed to get on top of Lyoya, and shot him in the back of the head.
“What you are left thinking is how unnecessary this tragedy was," said civil rights attorney Ben Crump.
Activists gathered in Grand Rapids to protest against police violence in the wake of Lyoya's death, chanting his name.
And someone in St. Joe protested Lyoya's death-- by chalking the sidewalk and bricks in front of the Berrien County Law Enforcement Memorial.
“We got a call a little after seven o’clock that someone had noticed some graffiti written on the sidewalk, some anti-police messages in front of the memorial," said Jordan Miller, a public safety officer with the city of St. Joe.
Words like 'ACAB,' 'KKKop' and 'murder.' Police also saw similar chalk at the Berrien County Courthouse-- and believe both incidents were connected.
“With it being in front of the police memorial, obviously it’s directed towards us,” Miller said.
Several St. Joe residents walking by the memorial saw the graffiti-- and while they did not want to speak on camera, and had differing opinions on whether or not the shooting was justified-- most seemed to agree that chalking up the front of the police memorial seemed in poor taste-- especially in the wake of two Benton Harbor officers being shot and injured when a suspect opened fire on them last week.
While police understand the topic of reform is divisive-- and that people are angry over the shooting-- they say they will still do their best to work with and protect the community.
“People have a right to protest and say what they want to say," said Miller. "We’re just gonna go out and do our jobs and help our community and be there and keep people safe.”
Miller also said that chalking up the memorial isn't exactly a crime; the only thing they can do about it is to wash it off.