A “Defund the Police” mural painted outside Milwaukee’s City Hall had one letter painted over by an anonymous group so that the phrase would spell out “Defend the Police,” according to multiple reports.
The words “Defund the Police” initially showed up outside Milwaukee City Hall on Wednesday, joining a wave of similar displays as the country reeled from the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis and the race-based protests that ensued.
Around 30 activists painted the initial mural without asking the city for permission or obtaining a permit.
But on Friday, someone took to the mural again and changed the spelling of “defund” to spell “defend.” The quick paint job did not last long, though, as it was switched back to “defund” by later that afternoon, WITI reported.
The change to the phrase came after former Alderman Bob Donovan slammed the initial mural on social media Wednesday night.
“Fixed it for you, folks!” he wrote, along with an uploaded photo showing “Defund the Police” crossed out with a blue line.
During his 20-year tenure as a member of Milwaukee’s common council, Donovan advocated for increased funding for the city’s police department and protecting police officers.
An anti-“Defund the Police” protest was already planned for this weekend to burnout the letters and destroy the mural.
Jeremy Wilbur, the leader of the anti-police group responsible for the original mural, said he wants to see money for arming the police and surveilling protests to go towards mental health and schools.
“People keep asking us, what does defund mean? It doesn’t mean abolish,” said Wilbur in a Facebook live video as he surveyed the altered mural. “No we didn’t send you messages of hate. No we didn’t send you messages that were threatening.”