Black Lives Matter sign erected by South Burlington middle school students vandalized

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A Black Lives Matter sign erected on the grounds of the South Burlington School District has been vandalized, and city police are investigating the incident as a suspected hate crime. 

The sign had been placed on the district’s grounds on Dorset Street by a group of students from Frederick Tuttle Middle School who stand against racism, South Burlington police said.

The damage to the sign was discovered Wednesday morning. The words “Black Lives Matter” and the associated logo were almost completely cut out of the sign, police said.

Video obtained from the scene showed that one person, who arrived in what appeared to be a Toyota Prius, damaged the poster. Police released snapshots from the video late Wednesday of what they believed was the suspect’s car. 

“This act is simply reprehensible and a clear illustration of racism in our community,” South Burlington police wrote in a news release. “This cowardly act cuts deep with our black and brown community members and is profoundly troubling given current events in this country.”

City Manager Kevin Dorn also echoed these sentiments in a statement saying, “This type of crime has no place in our community. The students at the Middle School have a right to have their voices heard and not to be attacked in this way.”

Related story: Black Lives Matter: Burlington crowd protests for George Floyd, marches to police parking lot

The investigation is in its early stages, but police are collecting video and consulting with the Vermont Department of Public Safety’s Forensic Laboratory. The department plans to report the incident to both the Chittenden County State’s Attorney’s Office and Vermont Attorney General’s Office.

Police are urging those with information about the incident to contact the department at 802-846-4111. 

Contact Elizabeth Murray at 802-651-4835 or emurray@freepressmedia.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizMurrayBFP.

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