Delaware State Police memorial defaced

The memorial monument in front the Delaware State Police Headquarters was the target of vandalism.

DOVER – Defacement of the Delaware State Police Law Enforcement Memorial in Dover drew serious concerns from state law enforcement Tuesday during a time of nationwide unrest, rallies and protest sparked by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died while in custody of Minneapolis police.

The vandalism occurred during the overnight hours of Monday into Tuesday when the memorial at the Delaware State Police Headquarters complex on U.S. 13 was spray painted with the words, “BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

“Those who operate on the fringe of this, and who have hijacked the true meaning of this movement, who knows what acts they are going to go to stoke those issues that they think are important, as opposed to us coming together and truly address the issues,” Delaware State Police Lt. Thomas Brackin said Tuesday during a brief press conference at the monument.

In a prepared statement issued later Tuesday, Lt. Brackin, president of the Delaware State Troopers Association that represents 700 active and retired troopers, urged that “elected leadership of our great state, Governor Carney and Attorney General Jennings, demonstrate their commitment to the men and women of Delaware law enforcement by strongly denouncing the actions of those responsible for these despicable acts.”

Delaware State Police Lt. Thomas Brackin speaks about the vandalism that occurred at the DSP Memorial Wall in Dover on Tuesday. (Delaware State News/Marc Clery)

“The troopers that I proudly represent will continue to defend the rights of all citizens, guaranteed by our state constitution as well as the United States Constitution, to protest peacefully and to protect the safety of protesters and non-protesters alike, as they have done so throughout the past month,” said Lt. Brackin.

“However, it is imperative that our governor and attorney general make it clear that if any protesters or activists break the law they will be prosecuted. And, when our troopers and police officers are forced to make arrests, by those who choose not to protest peacefully, they will stand behind the men and women who protect and serve all Delawareans.”

The memorial is dedicated to those troopers who gave their lives in the line of duty with the ultimate sacrifice for the safety and protection of its citizens. With each fallen officer’s name engraved in the memorial as a remembrance, it stands as a place of reflection for surviving family members, friends, loved ones and fellow troopers to pay tribute.

Lt. Brackin called these monuments “religious and sacred ground, not just to Delaware law enforcement officers but to our Concerns of Police Survivors, those survivors whose loved ones’ names appear on this wall and on the wall in Dover. Their names come from a diverse background without notice of race, religion, age or sex. Where they are different in all of these areas, they are united in one. Each individual sacrificed their life in the service to their fellow Delawareans.”

Eleanor Allione the primary caretaker for COPS and mother of slain Delaware State Police officer Frances M. Collender, speaks about the vandalism that occurred at the DSP Memorial Wall in Dover on Tuesday.

Members of Concerns of Police Survivors were also in attendance Tuesday.

“The extremists or fringe players who have chosen to commit criminal acts in the name of protest have hijacked the true intent of those who peacefully look to address the important issues of police brutality, criminal justice reform and systemic racism throughout our country,” Lt. Brackin said.

A statement from state police issued Tuesday said, “Our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to the surviving family members, who are heartbroken by this act. Any vandalism to such an important memorial is appalling and unacceptable.”

Delaware State Police are seeking the public’s assistance in finding the person or persons responsible.

Delaware State Police spokeswoman Master Cpl. Heather Pepper gives a brief statement to the media about the vandalism that occurred at the DSP Memorial Wall in Dover on Tuesday.

Anyone with any information about this incident is asked to contact Troop 3, Property Crimes Unit, Detective Baker at 302-697-4454.

Information may also be provided by calling Delaware crime stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at http://www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.

This story has been updated.