Graffiti of an angel pointing a gun at a cop — who has both hands raised — angered a number of people in the Detroit neighborhood where it was painted.
That it was depicted on the wall of a youth center across the street from a police precinct just added fuel to the fire.
“I don’t believe looking at the painting that God would give an angel a gun to shoot a police officer,” Steve Dolunt, assistant Detroit police chief, told WJBK-TV. “I think God gives angels to police officers to try to protect them.”
The officer’s hands-up pose has become a calling card for protesters of the police-related killings of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City.
“I don’t think you could walk 24 hours in my shoes, let alone my officers,” Dolunt told the station in a message to the culprit.
More from WJBK:
Although it’s unclear when exactly the image was painted, it likely happened after a man gunned down New York police officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu in their squad car Dec. 20.
The shooter, Ismaaiyl Brinsley, 28, was upset over the deaths of Brown and Eric Garner.
The graffiti — on the wall of the Youthville Building at the Plymouth Educational Center on Woodward — was painted over after officials learned of it Tuesday.
Roger Simmons, building facilities director, told WJBK he was “horrified” by the image, noting surveillance cameras hopefully recorded the guilty party.
“We will review the footage and we will present whatever we have to the Detroit Police Department,” Simmons said. “And we will expect to prosecute whoever we find was responsible for this act.”
Dolunt pointed to some sobering numbers as he described his feelings about the graffiti.
“Thirty-six times in the last 29 and a half years an angel wasn’t there to help us,” he said. “So I’m disheartened, dismayed, but I think we’ll get through this.”
This story was updated with video.