Police department 'on edge' after memorial is vandalized

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Story highlights

  • Police say memorial was vandalized with red paint
  • "Justice for Alton" scrawled in front of statue
  • Police Chief says his officers are "on edge" after Dallas attack

(CNN)A memorial honoring fallen police officers in Richmond, Virginia was vandalized with red paint, authorities said.

The Richmond Police Memorial statue was vandalized early Wednesday morning, according to authorities. Someone had painted the statue's face red and marked a red 'X' on its chest.
    The words "Justice for Alton" were scrawled on the paving stones in front of the statue -- apparently in reference to Alton Sterling. Sterling was killed by police in Louisiana last week. His death helped spur nationwide protests against excessive force by police.
    "This is a cowardly act for someone to come and air his or her grievances at a memorial in honor of 28 police officers," said Richmond Police Chief Alfred Dunham.
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    The 8-foot tall bronze statue had recently been moved to the city's Byrd Park and the site was undergoing a rebuild. It portrays a Richmond Police officer carrying a child who is clutching a teddy bear.
    In addition to the statue, the memorial features a plaque listing the names of 28 Richmond police officers killed in the line of duty from 1863 to 2003, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
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    Chief Dunham told reporters that his police department is "on edge" in the wake of last week's attack in Dallas that killed five police officers.
    "We got an anonymous call, a threat on Saturday, then you have something like this (vandalism). A lot of questions are going through their minds," said Dunham.
    Work crews used a pressure washer to clean up the memorial and hope to have the statue restored soon.