Black Lives Matter mural in Vermont vandalized with mud, oil

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Here is a look at developments related to ongoing protests throughout New England against police brutality following the May 25 killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis:

VERMONT

The vandalism of a Black Lives Matter mural that was painted on the street in front of Vermont's statehouse is under investigation, police said.

Hundreds gathered Saturday in Montpelier to paint the mural, which said “Black Lives Matter” in yellow letters. But Montpelier police say the painting was smeared with mud, dirt and oil early on Sunday, and graffiti was sprayed on the sidewalk nearby.

A photo released by police shows graffiti with messages including “$400 million gone” and “Put it back call Trump.” A statement from police says the graffiti “referenced government spending” but did not appear to be directed at the mural.

Vermont House Speaker Mitzi Johnson, who was among those who helped with the painting, condemned the vandalism. She said officials are working to restore the mural and authorities are trying to identify the perpetrators.

“While it is easy to be disgusted and angered by the vandalism of these anonymous cowards, for me their actions reinforce the need to address head-on the racism and white supremacy right here in our communities,” Johnson, a Democrat, said in a statement.

The mural was similar to others that have been painted near the White House in Washington and in other cities. It had been approved by the city council and supported by Gov. Phil Scott.

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RHODE ISLAND

Three people have been charged in the vandalism of a Christopher Columbus statue in Providence.

Police say officers were monitoring the statue early Saturday when they saw a car pass near the memorial, which had recently been boarded up and fenced off. Minutes later, police say they saw two people run toward the statue and throw objects that left paint splattered on the protective surface around the monument.

Both people fled on foot but were arrested in a nearby parking lot, police say. Other officers pulled over the driver accused of dropping the pair off. Police say open containers of paint and rubber gloves were visible in the car.

The two accused of throwing paint were identified by police as Derrick Garforth, 34, and Charlotte Whittingham, 28. The driver was identified as Mackenzie Innis, 26. All three face a felony charge of desecration of a monument and conspiracy.