Authorities are looking for whoever vandalized an officer statue in Eagan with anti-police graffiti.
The vandalism Tuesday night targeted the life-size statue depicting an officer shielding a little girl. It is among several bronze figures similarly vandalized in the Eagan Tribute and Memorial Plaza that also honor firefighters and military service members.
Police had planned to have a community conversation “to hear citizens’ concerns surrounding policing,” the department said in a statement, which also included a photo of the officer statue with a profane word written above “BLM” across his chest.
The event, “Building Bridges and Trust Between Citizens and Law Enforcement,” at the band shell was canceled because of a protest and rally that occurred nearby about the same time.
“People got wind of it and decided to protest,” said officer Aaron Machtemes, the Police Department’s spokesman. “So conversations could not be held, and the event was canceled to keep everyone safe.”
Machtemes added that “there are plans being made now [to reschedule the event]. We’re not giving up the venture because some people disrupted it.”
In the meantime, he said, city workers had to use a special chemical and a powerful pressure washer and “took hours to get off” the graffiti from the statues and other surfaces.
Police also released a photo of a woman vandalizing a band shell wall with a similar theme along with the first name of Isak Aden, a 23-year-old man who was fatally shot by Eagan police during a standoff in July 2019.
The “No Trust Without Accountability!” protest was organized by the grass-roots Justice For Isak Aden Committee. Among the speakers was Sumaya Aden, Isak’s sister. Messages were left with the group seeking comment about the gathering Tuesday and the graffiti that was left behind.
In November, Dakota County Attorney James Backstrom declined to charge officers who shot Aden, concluding the use of deadly force was legally justified because Aden lunged for a gun he had set on the ground, then raised his hand that was holding the weapon. Five officers opened fire. Aden was shot 11 times.
Police are asking for anyone with information about the graffiti to contact them at 651-675-5799 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.