A year after five Dallas officers were killed in a horrifying downtown ambush, a mural honoring their memory was painted on a fence outside a North Oak Cliff lounge.
Monday, the fence and the mural were taken down by the city, to the dismay of the property owner and the mother of one of the slain officers, KTVT-TV reports.
“Why is the city picking on this mural?” asked Valerie Zamarripa, mother of late officer Patrick Zamarripa. “Do they not see what it represents?”
What’s the story?
In July 2016, during a protest against police officer-involved shooting deaths in downtown Dallas, a man who told police he wanted to “kill white people” because he was upset over police shootings killed four Dallas Police Department officers and one Dallas Area Rapid Transit officer in a sniper attack.
A mural honoring the five law enforcement officers was painted in July 2017 outside the Last Call Lounge in Dallas.
“We thought we were doing something right and something nice for the city,” said Cesar Paz, owner of the lounge. “We never thought we were going to have these kinds of issues.”
However, city of Dallas officials say that even before the mural was painted, the owners of the property had received a citation about the fence.
“It’s not just some crazy random graffiti put up, it’s something beautiful,” Zamarripa told KXAS-TV.
How did the city respond?
The city released a statement to KXAS, which reads in part:
“The fence is illegal and constructed in such a way that it can conceal illegal activity. The mural painted on this illegal fence depicts a painful moment in Dallas’ history that should never be forgotten and pays tribute to our fallen heroes. However, the illegal fence poses a real and undisputed public safety issue for the surrounding neighborhood that cannot be ignored.”
The city maintains that they first cited the owner of the property in May and again in June before the mural was painted in July.
What will happen to the mural?
The mural has been given to Deputy Chief Albert Martinez, who will work to find the somewhere for it to be displayed once again.
“Chief Martinez is trying to help the business owner find someone who would like to have it and preserve it,” the Dallas Police Department said in a statement.