LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas cemetery is adding more security cameras after vandals desecrated the graves of Confederate soldiers last month, a cemetery employee said.
Two people were caught on camera sneaking into Oakland Cemetery Park in Little Rock on July 11 and writing “Black Lives Matter” and an obscenity related to President Donald Trump on an obelisk marking the grave sites of nearly 900 unidentified Confederate soldiers, according to Sexton John Raines, who works at the cemetery.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans, which donated the cameras to the cemetery, plans to provide additional cameras following the vandalizing, Raines told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in a report published Monday.
“Desecration of any grave is a crime, and the Little Rock Police Department is fully investigating,” said Stephanie Jackson, spokeswoman for Mayor Frank Scott Jr.
Jackson added that the mayor believes a national movement against Confederate monuments has sparked a change in action toward such symbols.
National discussions about removing racist symbols, including Confederate statues, began after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis. Floyd, a Black man who was handcuffed, died after a white officer pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes in Minneapolis. His death sparked protests worldwide against racial injustice and police brutality.
Raines said several burial sites were damaged, including nine unknown soldier headstones, the obelisk and an stone on the grave of one of the named Confederate soldiers.
Little Rock police said the investigation is ongoing.