Black Lives Matter mural vandalized in Medical District

Updated: Jun. 30, 2020 at 6:07 PM CDT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - A painting of a mural saying “Black Lives Matter” in the Health Sciences Park in the Medical District was vandalized with the words “kill them all.”

Last Wednesday, activists painted the words “Black Lives Matter” in Health Sciences Park surrounding the former statue of KKK Grand Wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Shelby County Commissioner Tami Sawyer, who led protests in 2017 in Health Sciences Park to take down the statue, was there to help create the mural.

“When we say black lives matter, we are saying black lives have not mattered in this country,” said Sawyer. “Black lives need to matter, black lives also matter.”

Sunday night, someone vandalized that painting, writing the words “Kill them all” on top of a fist painted on the ground.

Sawyer also says signs reading “Black Lives Matter” were ripped down and flowers were left behind at the base of the former Forrest statue.

“What I think this says is there is still some deep-rooted hatred,” said Sawyer. “The fact that someone would write kill em all on top of a Black Lives Matter mural, it is disgusting, it’s disgusting, and it’s sad and it’s hurtful.”

That vandalism has already been painted over.

Sawyer says if whoever wrote those hateful words meant to intimidate people who support Black Lives Matter, it hasn’t worked and she says activists are more motivated than ever to fight for equality.

“You could write something trashy tomorrow, someone’s going to repaint it and will keep repainting it,” said Sawyer. “And it’s not just about that fist, it’s not just about that mural, this isn’t going away.”

We asked Memphis Police Director Mike Rallings about this incident, and he said he doesn’t believe a police report was filed about this incident.

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