He says Garner's citizens support the police and will appreciate the colorful public artwork.
"[The mural depicts] a police officer with a child, a K-9 officer, you're gonna see our accreditation symbol, our badge, things like that," Zuidema said. "[It's]a compilation mural that really just talks about who we are."
The mural, designed and painted by Garner artist Vincent Wood, is now defaced by the words "Kill A Cop, Save A Child" scrawled in white across the images he described. The vandalism even covers a section depicting retired Garner police chief Percy McIver, who died less than a month ago.
If you have an issue with the Garner Police, then step forward and tell me. Disgusting act with absolutely no justification or reason.— Chief Zuidema (@ChiefZuidema) October 18, 2015
"This is absolutely disgusting and uncalled for," Zuidema told Eyewitness News. "The men and women who wear this badge and this uniform, particularly in this community, don't deserve a message talking about killing a police officer!"
He says the vandal probably struck sometime Thursday night, and the damage was spotted Friday morning. Now the police have a bright light to illuminate the area, as well as a barrier in place that keeps people from getting close to the mural until it's finished. There's also a thousand dollar reward offered for information that leads investigators to the culprit.
"Because what they've done is a cowardly act. Hiding behind the cloak of darkness or anonymity. If they have a problem with the Garner police department, my office is just down the street. I'm available 24-7, I would be happy to talk with them."
Asked what might happen if the vandal surrenders before officers track him down, the chief said this:
"If there's some sort of explanation of reasoning behind it, that's something that comes into play when it makes it to the courtroom. And we would obviously be talking about restitution because there's gonna be costs involved with repairing the work that's already been done."
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