Mehserle Verdict Spills on to Fresno Scene

Tuesday, Jul 13, 2010  |  Updated 9:30 AM PDT
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Mehserle Verdict Spills on to Fresno Scene

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As Oakland brushes itself off and takes stock of the damage caused by last week's riot, a city in the Central Valley is cleaning up some vandalism of its own related to the Johannes Mehserle verdict.

Sometime overnight after Mehserle's involuntary manslaughter conviction was announced Thursday afternoon, vandals dumped several cans of green and white paint on the Fresno County Peace Officers' Memorial, sheriff's spokesman Chris Curtice said

The memorial is located in Courthouse Park in downtown Fresno.

Papers found "strewn about below the memorial" around the time of the vandalism referenced the shooting of Oscar Grant III by Mehserle, a former BART police officer, Curtice said.

Curtice described the memorial as a "beautiful" black granite monument that stands about 6 feet tall and includes the names of dozens of local officers and deputies killed in the line of duty.

He estimated the damage at about $3,000 and said people have been stepping in to help restore the memorial, including Alan Greenhaw, owner of Central Valley Monument Companies, who helped design it.

Greenhaw is performing the restoration work for free.

"It's one of those things where I don't feel good charging for something like that," Greenhaw said.

He said the city power-washed the monument immediately after the vandalism was discovered, which removed the paint but also some decorative stain that he is now replacing.

Greenhaw said he thinks the vandals' apparent plan to denigrate law enforcement may have backfired. He explained that the monument, created in 1998, typically doesn't get much attention.

"It doesn't get a lot of high-profile news, and so it's kind of like the vandals actually did them a favor in a way by bringing it back into the community spotlight," Greenhaw said.

Greenhaw said most of the damage has been repaired but that he's going to stop by later today to make sure no touch-ups are needed.

"I want to go back this afternoon and take a good look in the bright sun," he said.

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