Frederick police were seeking help from the public Tuesday after several Black Lives Matter signs were found spray painted on buildings and other structures downtown.
The signs all read "BLM" with the image of a fist and were first discovered by police Monday evening, Lt. Kirk Henneberry, the commander of the Frederick Police Department's Criminal Investigations Division, said Tuesday.
Demonstrations have been happening daily in the city since early last week to protest the death of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in police custody in Minneapolis, Minnesota May 25.
Those protests began initially with groups of individuals holding signs and chanting in square corner, leading up to a March for Justice attended by thousands on Friday afternoon. The graffiti appears to have been left by someone or a small group of people who took part in a protest Monday at the sheriff's office, police said.
"They definitely happened yesterday or last night toward the end of the march back from the [Frederick County Law Enforcement Center], about half of that crowd came back to the downtown area to continue to protest and we believe that is when the graffiti went up," said Henneberry.
Detectives first noticed the graffiti between 9 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Monday after protesters had moved through several areas of downtown, Henneberry said, adding that the graffiti all appears to be from the same stencil. Detectives believe the graffiti was likely left by the same individual or group of people, but investigators were still canvassing the area for surveillance camera footage and waiting to hear back from potential witnesses.
"Any witnesses, anybody who was in the march who doesn’t appreciate graffiti or anyone with video we’d appreciate hearing from folks like that, tips are always helpful, anytime," Henneberry said.
Several instances of the graffiti were found along South East Street near East South Street, on the U.S. Post Office building in the 200 block of East Patrick Street and on East Church Street, Henneberry said.
Graffiti falls under the property crimes section of state law and specifically those laws prohibiting the malicious destruction of property as a misdemeanor offense. It is also prohibited under the Frederick charter and code as a civil offense, according to a Frederick Police Department press release.
Anyone with any information regarding the graffiti or who may be responsible was asked to call Detective Ryan Stotler at 240-549-4537 or send an email to RStotler@frederickmdpolice.org. Anonymous tips can be left by voicemail at 301-600-8477 (TIPS), sent by text to 240-674-8477 (TIPS), or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.