Police cars vandalized, peaceful protests planned in Harrison, Arkansas

Published: Jun. 4, 2020 at 3:36 PM CDT
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The bold, red spray paint on a black and white police cruiser was hard to miss Wednesday morning.

"I think it was just basically an opportunity that someone took maybe to cause or to incite people to anger," said Harrison Police Chief Chris Graddy.

One of Graddy's officers said it happened outside the Links apartment complex. But whoever tagged the police car with "Black Lives Matter" didn't stop there.

"The damage was very minimal, so that wasn't the issue. Just the fact that someone would do that,"said Boone County Sheriff Tim Roberson.

One of the sheriff's squad cars was also parked in the complex and tagged. To both men, this was a step too far.

"I was just a little surprised that someone would do that to one of our cars and deface public property," Graddy said.

The paint easily came off with some diesel fuel and elbow grease, but racial issues around the country aren't as easy to wipe away.

"We want to work with the police," said Daniella Scott, the organizer of a peaceful protest.

Scott moved to Harrison 9 years ago. She's experienced racism, but said most people in town are good people, especially the officers and deputies whose cars were vandalized.

"We don't want the police to be our enemy," she said.

Instead of paint, Scott and a group of about 20 people plan to hold a peaceful protest on the courthouse square Thursday at 7 p.m.

"We're just having our signs. We want people to see that black lives matter and we stand with the George Floyd family," Scott said.

It's a message of unity in a place where there isn't a ton of diversity, but it's a crystal clear understanding from the men and women who protect Harrison.

"We're they're to protect anyone who wants to peacefully assemble. If that assembly becomes criminal, then we are also there to protect the property owners of our community, their businesses, and our citizens," Graddy said.

There will be another protest scheduled for Friday at 4 p.m.

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