Joe Macenka, a spokesman for the Capitol Police, said the statue was probably hit with paint overnight with a weed sprayer or fire extinguisher in between police patrols. The incident is being investigated, although no arrests had been made.
The Capitol Police — who are also responsible for patrolling the Virginia statehouse — were alerted to the presence of the paint about 6 a.m. Saturday, when a cleaning crew was called to remove it, Macenka said. The statue was free of paint by about 4 p.m. Saturday.
Macenka said a “lion’s share” of the force’s 500 security cameras are installed around the Lee statue, although he declined to comment on whether the vandalism had been captured on video.
“I don’t support the monuments but vandalism is a crime no matter where it takes place and the individual or individuals responsible should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law,” Stoney said in the statement.
Unlike Richmond’s other monuments, the figure of Lee is property of the state of Virginia.
Macenka said the “BLM” written on the statue was probably a reference to Black Lives Matter. The movement’s chapter in the D.C. and Virginia area did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.