After just one day of being planted, someone vandalized and destroyed a tree planted in memory of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
A memorial stone placed at the foot of the tree is also missing, according to a local news channel. The memorial tree was planted by members of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.
— Mashable (@mashable) April 20, 2015
Caucus members had planted the tree in January-Wabash Memorial Park on Saturday and just one day later, community members found it destroyed. Another tree featured in a local news report was completely destroyed – just a few meters away from the tree planted in honor of Michael Brown.
Police say they have no idea who desecrated the memorial, Mashable reported.
The original Brown tree has since been replanted elsewhere, while a new tree was planted at the site of the memorial – now with branches slashed off.
Residents of the troubled city expressed their concern. “I can’t understand why someone would want to cut down the tree,” one man in the park told St. Louis, Missouri television station KMOV. “What, they want to start something back up again?”
Ferguson has been the center of controversy for months with a series of protests after Brown, an unarmed black teenager, was shot and killed in August by a white police officer named Darren Wilson. Those protests shed light on how police treat black citizens of the United States and have since spread across the country, from New York City to Berkeley, California.
A Department of Justice inquiry into the Ferguson Police Department following the shooting of Michael Brown determined that the city had turned its police force into what some consider a tax collection agency.
Police exacted tolls disproportionately on the black population, which accounts for around 67% of the city. The police chief has since resigned, though the mayor remains at the head of the city.