War Memorial officials shocked at act of vandalism

Maintenance crews that work on the War Memorial spent several hours cleaning graffiti off of two statues Wednesday.

Indianapolis

Maintenance crews that work on the War Memorial spent several hours cleaning graffiti off of two statues Wednesday.

Sometime overnight into Wednesday morning, someone spray painted black graffiti on the base of the General George Rogers Clark statue and Governor William Henry Harrison's statue.

"I know people have a right to their opinions and all, but there's a way to do it, without being disrespectful to others,without desecrating the memory of others," Robert Dehoniesto said.

In black paint, the letter 'A' was in a circle and on the other statue, the letters ACAB were painted, which some say is a negative phrase toward officers.

"It makes me angry. I mean graffiti is ugly anyway, but for that, it's just outrageous," Dehoniesto said.

Dehoniesto said he has worked in the area for several years and said he has never seen graffiti on the circle.

The historic monument, which was built in the late 1800's, is state property. The Indiana State Police and Capitol Police are investigating.

"It's really a sad statement because this is representative of somebody that has no respect for themselves and they certainly don't have respect for the property of the people or property of the taxpayers," Captain David Bursten with ISP said. "All of us pay to maintain this and it represents the sacrifices made from people in the past to grant freedom to us now today."

Investigators will check with the businesses around Monument Circle to see if there is surveillance video that captured the vandalism. Captain Bursten said if someone is caught, they would be charged with criminal mischief, a misdemeanor. It is unclear how much it will cost to remove the graffiti.

"We want the person who did this to be the one to pay for it," Bursten said.

To try to remove the vandalism, it took crews several hours. Crews used a product called graffiti remover among other methods to try to remove it.

"It's very tough on this type of stone and limestone, it's really soft and it could be damaged easily," Jeremy Dye said.

"This is uncalled for. It's a cowardly act," Brigadier General Stewart Goodwin said.

Goodwin served 37 years with the military.

"This is our history and is important and so when people show disrespect for that, I'm very intolerant of it," he said. 

In the past seven years as executive director of the Indiana Wars Memorial Commission, Goodwin has seen vandalism about six times.

The limestone has pores, which means the paint can seep into it and that is why crews wanted to try to remove it as quickly as possible.

"These belong to the people and so whoever has done this has actually done this to the people of Indiana," Goodwin said.

"We want the person who did this to be the one to pay for it," Captain Bursten said.

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