Vandals Deface Monument Circle

A cleaning crew removed graffiti yesterday morning from two statues of war heroes at the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Downtown Indianapolis.

Vandals struck sometime during the overnight hours, spray-painting a symbol representing anarchy and a slang insult against police officers.

The monument was last marred by graffiti in October 1990, according to Indianapolis Star archives, when red paint was sprayed on the monument’s base. After that incident, the Indiana Department of Administration, which runs the monument, said it was looking for ways to increase security.

“These are actions of uneducated people who don’t really have any long-term plan,” said Capt. Dave Bursten, spokesman for the Indiana State Police. “We have people here who have no respect for themselves or the property of others.”

Police will look at surveillance video from area businesses to see whether any perpetrators were caught on camera, Bursten said, and any clear images will be shared with media.

The graffiti was emblazoned across the base of statues of William Henry Harrison, in the northeast quadrant opposite the entrance to the Columbia Club, and George Rogers Clark, in the northwest quadrant opposite the entrance to WellPoint.

Harrison (1773-1841) was a military officer before becoming Indiana territorial governor and later the ninth president of the United States. He has the distinction of serving the shortest period of any U.S. president, dying on his 32nd day in office after contracting pneumonia.

Clark (1752-1818) is best known as the American military officer who led the capture of two British forts in the Old Northwest Territory. The forts are located at Kaskaskia, Ill., and Vincennes, Ind. — which, pre-statehood, served as the territorial capital of Indiana. He spent the latter part of his life living in Southern Indiana along the Ohio River near Louisville. He was the brother of explorer William Clark of the famed “Lewis and Clark” expedition into the western United States.

Since the vandalism occurred on state property, the incident falls into the jurisdiction of the Indiana State Police.

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