BUTLER COUNTY, Ohio (FOX19) - Vandals defaced a parking-spot mural painted by a Lakota West High School senior to honor his father, a Butler County Sheriff’s Office deputy.
Christian and his mother, Kelley, didn’t want their last name used.
Christian says he painted the Thin Blue Line flag on his senior parking space to honor his father as well as those his father works with at the sheriff’s office.
“We had a conversation with him when he first decided to choose the Thin Blue Line flag for his spot,” Kelley said. “We said, ‘You know Christian, that’s kind of controversial right now.’ He said, ‘You know what? I want to do it. I’m supporting my dad. There’s nothing political about it. I’m just supporting my dad.‘”
Sometime late Saturday or early Sunday last weekend, the parking space was spray-painted with profanities and the Black Lives Matter slogan.
“I wasn’t really surprised,” Christian said. “But I was really... what kind of put a weird thing in my stomach was all the stuff they wrote over it. Because they looped just a whole bunch of different things against cops all over it. That didn’t really sit well with me, because man, they’re just out there trying to do their jobs, trying to help others.”
West Chester Police Chief Joel Herzog posted about the vandalism on Twitter:
The Lakota West School District posted a message bout the incident that reads in part:
“This act shows the need for us to come back together as a school community so we can engage on the topic of racism, police brutality and social justice in a responsible way. This is a public health issue and our students need an environment where we can be candid, listen and clearly establish vales that avoid being influenced by political propaganda and special interests.”
Kelley says she’s concerned there are people who believe all law-enforcement officers are bad people.
“I think that really goes against everything that I know to be true about my husband and about the people that he works for,” she said.
Less than a day after the vandalism took place, the marks had been removed from Christian’s parking space.
“I was sleeping, and I woke up to my phone just being absolutely blown up by texts, like, ‘Hey, your spot got vandalized,‘” Christian recalled. “Then a couple of people reached out to me, like, ‘Hey, I’m willing to come help paint.‘”
Kelley says she was blown away by the outpouring of support. Several officers even stopped by to offer their help in cleaning off the vandalism.