A mural depicting a portrait of George Floyd was defaced early Sunday with tar.
This is the second time it has happened, one of its artists said, and Salt Lake City police are investigating, according to police spokesman Greg Wilking.
The mural — which features Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police; Bernardo Palacios-Carbajal, who was fatally shot by Salt Lake City police on May 23; and four other people killed by police in Utah — was painted on a building at 300 West and 800 South in Salt Lake City.
Black goo was splattered on the painting, concealing one of Floyd’s eyes and dripping down the length of his face. Floyd’s portrait was also the target last Sunday, the first time the mural was vandalized, one of the artists said.
The location is where Salt Lake City stores its fleet of vehicles, including the police and fire departments’ Mobile Command Center.
When the artists learned on Sunday that the Floyd mural had been vandalized again, they returned to the site to fix it.
The artists, who wanted to remain anonymous to deflect attention from themselves and onto the artwork, chose the location on purpose, said Derek Dyer, executive director of the Utah Arts Alliance and a booster of Salt Lake City’s street-art scene, in a recent Salt Lake Tribune article.
That site has become a shrine and memorial, where people come to leave signs, flowers and other mementos.
Another one of the artists said the fact that Floyd’s portrait keeps getting defaced is proof “that racism is alive and well in Salt Lake City,” a place she said residents sometimes assume doesn’t have a problem with racial discrimination.
The mural started with paintings of Floyd and Palacios-Carbajal, but artists have since added portraits of Dillon Taylor, Darrien Hunt, Michael Chad Breinholt and Bryan Pena Valencia — all killed by police in Utah.
An artist told the The Tribune the group plans to fill the remaining 11 blank spots with more victims of Utah police shootings.
“I have nightmares of who we’re not going to be able to include,” she said, noting that 19 people were killed by police in Utah in 2018 alone.