Knoxville Black Lives Matter mural vandalized, police investigating

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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – A Black Lives Matter mural recently painted outside of Austin-East High School was vandalized early Wednesday morning, Knoxville Police confirmed.

Around 1:20 a.m. Wednesday, Knoxville Police said officers observed a black-paint like substance had been poured on out on the roadway in two separate places over the Black Lives Matter mural located in front of Austin-East High School on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue.

The city service department was called to spread absorbent on the affected areas. Knoxville Police are investigating the incident and there is no suspect information at this time.

The mural was originally started on July 3 without permission from the city. Organizers were not able to finish it in one day, but still moved forward with submitting the proper paperwork for approval. The City of Knoxville announced on July 10 that the permit was approved and organizers could move forward with finishing the mural.

Evetty Satterfield, Knox County Board of Education representative for the district including Austin-East High School, wrote an open letter asking the city to remove the mural. The letter expressed concern about future demonstrations at the site and the mural being a painful reminder of racial inequality to students.

Anybody with any information on the incident is urged to call the KPD Crime Hotline at 865-215-7212.

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