Vandals splatter green paint on Lincoln Memorial

Vandals splatter green paint on Lincoln Memorial

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WASHINGTON -

Someone splattered green paint on the Lincoln Memorial early Friday, but the statue of the 16th president was reopened by nightfall after the paint was washed away.

The apparent vandalism was discovered around 1:30 a.m. Friday on the statue, the pedestal and the floor, U.S. Park Police said. No words, letters or symbols were visible in the paint.

The marble Lincoln statute had green paint on its shin, coattail, chair and base, as well as paint on the floor of the memorial building.

Capt. Steven Booker said the paint spill "appears intentional based off of the splatter." Police were reviewing security camera footage to try to identify possible suspects, he said.

No suspects had been identified by Friday afternoon. Police officials said they would not release the security footage because the investigation is ongoing.

The memorial chamber was closed all day to allow a National Park Service crew to finish cleaning up the paint. Workers spent hours using pressurized hoses and a chemical paint remover to try to wash away the paint.

National Park Service spokeswoman Carol Johnson said the memorial will be returned to the condition it was in before the vandalism. She said the work was going well by late Friday.

"It is not permanent damage," she said. "Our historic preservation crew knows exactly what they need to do."

The memorial, one of the most popular sites on the National Mall, was dedicated in 1922 to President Abraham Lincoln. The building was designed by Henry Bacon, and Daniel French sculpted the statue of Lincoln. It sits at the opposite end of the National Mall from the Capitol, facing the Washington Monument.

The memorial has served as a symbol of equality and reunification after the Civil War. It was the site of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.'s March on Washington 50 years ago, along with other historic moments.

The Lincoln Memorial is generally open around the clock to visitors. Park rangers leave their posts about 10 p.m. and return about 9 a.m. daily. U.S. Park Police, however, maintain 24-hour patrols at the memorial, said Lt. Pamela Smith.

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Lincoln Memorial: http://www.nps.gov/linc

At one point a reporter on the scene asked U.S. Park Police Lt. Pam Smith if sequestration affected staffing.

Smith replied, “At this point I really can’t answer that question - I’m sure you all understand what sequestration has done to most federal agencies – as it relates to the U.S. Park Police we’ve had some impact – but as far of the details of that, I can’t into that right now.”


From the Chairman, Ian Glick, U.S. Park Police FOP REGARDING THE LINCOLN MEMORIAL:

This type of reprehensible act is unfortunate but it did not permanently damage the memorial and this incident further underscores the need for the National Park Service to provide more funding and more personnel so as to provide a higher level of deterrence through officer presence. We are fortunate that this deplorable act can be remedied but caution that we are lucky that this wasn't an act of terrorism.


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