Surveillance video shows that sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning, two individuals used large stencils and red spray paint to write the words “This is racist” near the top of the arch of the embattled monument on the south side of the Square. The duo then met a third person near the Square and the three fled on foot, the video shows.
Sheriff’s officials learned of the vandalism shortly before 9 a.m. Monday. County Commissioner Hugh Coleman said he was on the Square enjoying his morning coffee when he was told and took a look for himself.
“Whether you like something or not, there are better ways to express yourself,” Coleman said.
According to sheriff’s officials, the vandalism is a felony that carries a fine of up to $10,000 and from six months to two years in jail. Sheriff’s officials posted still images of the suspects on the office’s Facebook page and issued a news release asking for the public’s help in finding the suspects.
County personnel started working on the damage Monday morning, and by evening the monument still bore faded red marks.
Damage to the monument could exceed $50,000, according to Peggy Riddle, executive director of the Denton County Office of History and Culture. A conservation specialist will be called in if necessary, she said.
“This is not an easy shoot-it-with-graffiti-cleaner-and-go kind of thing,” Riddle said. “It leaches into the porous granite and marble. After that, we will have to do a type of special wax that conservators use so the monument will not look bleached-out in certain areas and all go back to being a cohesive color.”
I wonder how far the county will go with $50,000 fixes for a memorial commemorating those who committed treason to defend slavery if this happened again and again.