HOUSTON, Texas (FOX 26) - On a beautiful Friday afternoon at Bricker Park in Houston, children are out playing and enjoying their time in the sun.
"Oh it's great," says Sa'Riyah Whitefield.
"It's quiet around here, believe it or not, so for that to happen is just like, wow," says Marvis Johnson-Hall.
What Johnson-Hall is referring to is a statue of Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
A Houston police officer was out on patrol duty when he noticed something on the statue. He shined a flashlight on it and saw it was covered in white paint.
"I walked outside and there was a cop assigned out here and I saw people cleaning the statue," explains Johnson-Hall. "I just thought it was routine and thought, 'Aw, that's so cute, they are cleaning the statue,' but you just told me that they defaced the statue and I was like, wow, that's heartbreaking."
"It's really messed up and kind of disgusting because Martin Luther King never really did anything to anybody," says Georgia McCowuan. "He just wanted peace for everybody so to hear that is kind of disgusting."
A very similar thing happened out at Bell Park. The Christopher Columbus statue was covered in red paint.
"They put the statues there for a reason, so to just vandalize and tear them up is nonsense and kind of crazy," says McCowuan.
Houston Police Department Chief Art Acevedo says he will have more officers patrolling the parks in the next few weeks to help prevent this from happening again. The incidents follow a rally and counter protest at a Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, Virginia where one man drove a vehicle into a group of people, leaving one woman dead and several others injured.
"We will not tolerate what we saw in Charlottesville where people were getting beat up," says Chief Acevedo. "We will not stand up, watching anyone deface or destroy public property, private property and/or attack and physically injure other individuals."
Anyone with information about the defaced status is encouraged to contact Crime Stoppers of Houston by phone at 713-222-8477 (TIPS).