(KTVI)– City crews spent much of Tuesday cleaning up vandalism in south St. Louis’ Reservoir Park. Slogans apparently tied to the Occupy movement were painted on a building, the reservoir wall, and on a statue brought to St. Louis from Germany in 1915. A city officials’ home was also sprayed with red paint and tagged with the words, “blood is on your hands.”
It all appears to be in response to a clash between Occupy demonstrators and police on Thursday, in which two protestors were injured and more than a dozen were arrested. It happened during the Occupy Midwest Conference as police attempted to enforce a city curfew in the park.
Neighbors of the park, which is on Grand just south of Interstate 44 believe the vandalism occurred there sometime overnight between Monday and Tuesday.
“I was horrified,” neighborhood association president Shelly Donaho said. “I was like, why graffiti this park because there’s just no need. I figured maybe they did it out of anger because the police arrested them.”
City officials share the same suspicion, though they’re not certain local members of the movement are the culprit. In fact, they think otherwise.
“The Occupy group that has been in St. Louis has had a very positive relationship with us in communication,” City Operations Director Sam Dotson said. “Again we haven’t agreed on all the issues. We think these are people from outside the area that were specifically here for that purpose, to disrupt, to cause turmoil, to cause chaos in the area.”
It extended past the park. City Public Safety Director Eddy Roth’s home was also hit by vandals. Red paint was splashed all along the side of the house, with the reference to “blood on your hands” painted on the front steps.
In a statement, Roth described himself as “annoyed,” more than anything. Saying his kids, in their teens and twenties, were most aggravated by what happened.
But Dotson says the attack on Roth’s home hits home at City Hall.
“Especially if somebody has a family, you want to feel safe in your home, and to have this group throw paint at your house is very, very disturbing, especially when we’re just trying to do our jobs.”
Back at the park, area residents say if Occupy is trying to win “hearts and minds” over to their cause, they’re going about it the wrong way.
“I think they’re bouncing around not knowing what they’re doing,” Donaho said. “I don’t think they’re generating many friends, because not matter what you’re for, everybody loves a park.”
The activity comes on the same day banners went up promoting an Occupy Monsanto demonstration scheduled for September. Those banners were quickly removed by police and city crews.
We attempted to reach out to members of the Occupy movement, but our requests for comment were not answered.