MARION COUNTY, FLORIDA - A Confederate statue in Marion County Veteran’s Memorial Park on Fort King Street was spray-painted with graffiti, police said.
Director of Marion County Veteran Services Jeffrey Askew said that the staff discovered the vandalism early Monday morning.
Officers said someone spray-painted the phrase, “South will not rise again,” and “racist” on the statue.
War veteran and Ocala resident Lewis Alston was upset when he learned of the vandalism.
“What we’re going to do, as veterans, we will stand guard to make sure this statue is not damaged or removed, because it belongs here,” said Alston.
Alston is one of the veterans who works to help maintain Memorial Park.
He takes the act of vandalism seriously.
“To do damage to it does damage to me and it does damage to our veterans, too,” said Alston.
Police need the public’s help tracking down whoever is responsible.
“We’re just calling on citizens who may have heard something, know something, maybe the person who did this, shared photos or talked about…we just need them to come forward and share any information,” said Meghan Shay, of the Ocala Police Department.
Askew said cameras that had been mounted in the park were removed a couple of weeks prior to the vandalism.
The total damage was calculated to about $300.