Vandals in Boise, Idaho, attacked a statue of Abraham Lincoln, leaving the city landmark covered with paint, feces, and signs.
Boise police responded to a call early Monday morning regarding the vandalizing of a statue known as Seated Lincoln, according to a statement from City of Boise officials. Officers found the statue covered in feces and paint. They also left protest signs, officials stated.
Protesters told the Idaho Press they marked the statue to raise awareness on the first day of Black History Month. They claim history is ignoring Lincoln’s treatment of indigenous and black people.
Peaceful Roots of Change’s Samantha Hager told the local news outlet the paint was made of biodegradable chalk. She said her group organized the action along with Black Lives Matter Boise and Antifa Boise. She said they planned the action for about a month.
An activist involved in the defacing of the Lincoln statue said it was a political display using chalk, meant to raise awareness on the first day of Black History Month of omitted history. Boise's mayor called the vandalism "particularly disturbing." https://t.co/LUYOU7i2qP
— The Idaho Press (@TheIdahoPress) February 2, 2021
Hager claims the protesters are not responsible for the feces found on the statue. “When we saw pictures of the feces they’re claiming we put there, it’s dog poop,” the activist claimed. “It’s on a walking trail; people bring their dogs there all the time.”
Police officials began an investigation into the vandalism that included the gathering of social media content.
“Defacing a venerated object to provoke an emotional response will not help us rise to our better selves,” Boise Police Chief Ryan Lee said in the City’s statement on the matter.
Boise Mayor Lauren McLean added, “Vandalism is a crime, never appropriate, and those committing these crimes will be held accountable.”
The mayor continued:
At a time when our democracy is fragile, this is particularly disturbing as President Lincoln sought to keep our fractured nation together and to address the scourge of slavery – losing his life for it. On the first day of Black History month, it’s essential to honor those in our community, reflect on our past, and work together for a better future. This terrible act detracts from progress and is an affront to those who toil daily for civil rights.
Hager called their vandalizing of the Lincoln statue “an act of civil disobedience” that is “protected under the Constitution.”
“We have wonderful lawyers on our side that are at our beck and call,” the Boise activist added.
City park crews responded to the scene and quickly cleaned up the mess. Officials report no permanent damage to the statue.