RICHMOND, Va. (AP) — A statue of African American tennis legend Arthur Ashe on Richmond, Virginia’s Monument Avenue has been vandalized with the words “White Lives Matter.”
Photos show the base of the monument tagged with white spray paint and the words “white lives matter” as well as the initials “WLM.” Those initials were then later painted over with “BLM.”
Richmond Police said they were alerted to the vandalism about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. Police say red paint on the statue itself was already being cleaned off by community members.
Police said they have information on possible suspects and are asking the community to call their Crime Stoppers line if they have information on who is responsible for the vandalism.
The Arthur Ashe monument was dedicated in 1996 to memorialize the Richmond native and counterbalance the string of statues on Memorial Avenue dedicated to Confederate leaders.
The vandalism of the Ashe statue comes as multiple Confederate statues have been toppled, vandalized and slated for removal in the city during protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.