State law enforcement memorial vandalized on Capitol grounds - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

State law enforcement memorial vandalized on Capitol grounds

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MADISON (WKOW) -- Wisconsin State Capitol officials are investigating graffiti sprawled on the law enforcement memorial at the Capitol as an act of vandalism.

Administration Communications Director Steve Michels said they believe it happened overnight Friday. The memorial, which honors Wisconsin law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty statewide, is on the Capitol Square at the corner of Pinckney and Mifflin Streets.

Capitol Police are investigating the incident.

The graffiti, written in red, shows "Justice4AnthonySmith", an apparent reference to the St. Louis man who was shot in 2011; the former police officer who was accused of shooting him was acquitted in the case this past week. 

The memorial was erected and is maintained by the Wisconsin Law Enforcement Memorial, Inc.  Chairman Craig Kolbeck, an officer in the Green Bay Police Department, told Channel 27 News Saturday morning the vandalism is extremely offensive, not only to law officers who are currently serving but especially to those who have died while serving. 

"I'm really upset by this. It doesn't only affect myself or the board. There are currently 273 names of men and women that were killed in the line of duty and gate their lives and are on that memorial," Kolbeck said.

Wisconsin Professional Police Association President Jim Palmer agrees. His group posted a statement on social media this morning:

This a disgraceful and unconscionable desecration to the officers of every race, creed and color recognized on this memorial for paying the ultimate sacrifice in service to their communities. To senselessly deface this lasting tribute to the price paid by the brave men and women memorialized - and that of the selfless families that supported those officers - is not only a slap in the face to all those in law enforcement, both past and present, but to the freedoms that their courage preserves each and every day as well. Wisconsin's law enforcement community has been recognized as a national leader when it comes to 21st century policing, and we know that this horrendous act of vandalism doesn't speak for the vast majority of the public that holds in high regard the risks our officers assume in the course of their duty to others. In the days to come, may the expressions of those that understand and respect the vital role our officers play in society reverberate and serve to drown out the cowardly few who use graffiti under the cover of darkness to display their ignorant disrespect and their fundamental misunderstanding of the paramount importance of the valor and honor of the courageous officers working to keep our streets safe.

Michels says the capitol facilities department will clean the memorial as soon as possible.  He asks anyone with information about the vandalism to call the Capitol Police at 608-266-8797. 

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