KANSAS CITY, MO (KCTV) -- Protesters set out to remember a historic day in Peruvian history but instead, it drew communities in the metro closer.
Calvary Chapel Church on Saint John and Oakley Avenues, the Liberty Memorial, a bridge at Truman and Woodland, another at Anderson and Gladstone and a vacant building at 30th and Prospect were all tagged overnight.
The messages are believed to be part of a protest over a Peruvian prison massacre that happened 33 years ago on June 18 where at least 224 prisoners were killed by the Peruvian military.
Wendell Hamilton is the pastor of the church that was vandalized.
“I’m not sure what they’re trying to convey, but when you are kind of destroying and to some case some might say demoralizing, another person’s property, trying to being memory to a sad event that took place, I don’t think this pays any kind of a tribute to that because what you done here overrides the memory of what happened there,” Hamilton said.
Across town, at the Liberty Memorial cleanup crews were called in quickly to try and restore the memorial wall.
“This was an opportune location to protest and they chose to do it at the National World War I Museum Memorial really is an outrage given that it’s a place of memory honoring those whose lives were lost,” Matthew Naylor, President/CEO National WWI Museum & Memorial, said.
Kansas City police are investigating. The Liberty Memorial and nearby businesses have turned over surveillance video to police.
Chief Rick Smith wrote a lengthy blog post about what happened. He said in part, “This is America, and everyone is entitled to their political beliefs.”
Shortly before 1 a.m. last night, June 18, two men defaced one of Kansas City’s greatest treasures. On the north side of the Liberty Memorial, suspects spray-painted sentiments about a 1986 conflict in Peru and a communist symbol. They painted large red X’s of the faces of the World War I generals. A passerby saw them and called police. The driver yelled at them, and they ran off.
This is just the latest in what we believe to be three other vandalism incidents perpetrated by the same people. It is also the most destructive. We believe the same people also have defaced a church, a bridge and a vacant building in different parts of the city last night, too.
This is America, and everyone is entitled to their political beliefs. You can protest about them, you can write a blog like me or you can petition for change. What you cannot do is harm others or property in the expression of those beliefs. Nothing is gained from graffiti on a church.
To desecrate the National World War I monument is both illegal and stupid. It insults the tens of thousands of men who gave their lives so that we might continue to have the right to express our political beliefs. Who knows what kind of oppressive government we might be living under had those men not given their lives?
We, as a police department, will not tolerate the desecration of one of the most beloved landmarks in Kansas City, and we know the community won’t either. We are canvassing the area for possible video evidence and encourage anyone with information to contact the TIPS Hotline online or call 816-474-TIPS (8477).
We have some solid leads and continue to investigate.
This is the second time in the last five years Steve Haith and his team at DSG have been called out to clean up graffiti here. He’s hopeful the memorial will be back to normal in no time.
“It should soak into the pores of the masonry and it should get. It off it just takes a little bit of time for it to do its magic,” Haith said.