Michael Brown memorial tree vandalized, plaque stolen

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FERGUSON, MO (KTVI) - A tree planted at a Ferguson park Saturday in memory of Mike Brown then vandalized hours later, has already been replaced.

The damaged tree is still standing, replanted nearby.

The trees in January-Wabash Park mean a lot to Ferguson.

People have been dedicating trees to loved ones there for years.

Markers are installed next to the trees.

Mike Brown’s tree and marker didn’t even last a day.

“If it was intentional then they know they were wrong for doing it.  At the end of the day someone lost their life.  It could have been them.  It could have been one of their family members.  I just think it wasn’t right,” said area resident, Raynetta Godfrey.  “People feel with freedom of speech they get to do whatever they want to do.  I think they abuse it.”

“It’s real sad day when a tree is dedicated and the next day someone comes along and destroys it just for the heck of it,” said Gerald Brooks of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA).

The group dedicated the tree.

The BCALA is holding its national conference in St. Louis this summer.

The group, which promotes library related careers among African-Americans, literacy initiatives, and also provides scholarships, dedicated the tree as a symbol of healing leading up to the conference.

Leaders were thrilled to see the replacement tree already planted, Monday.

There were Ferguson residents who wondered about whether it was proper for an outside group to dedicate a tree in Ferguson, no matter how well-intentioned.

“There’s people thinking about healing; there’s people thinking about wanting something better for Ferguson, better for mike brown’s family.  I agree with that.  But i don’t think they should do things under the radar,” said Amanda Canaday.

“Ferguson residents will change things, white or black.  If they feel there needs to be a change, which obviously with the elections they decided there needs to be a change, let Ferguson residents do it,” said her husband, Drew Canaday.

The BCALA released a statement affirming its commitment to the St. Louis conference and the meaning behind the tree planting.

“Many things have been destroyed in Ferguson but we saw the tree as a symbol of peace, comfort, hope, and renewal…our response is that the work of peace and social justice cannot be deterred,” said BCALA president Kelvin Watson, of New York.

Another tree was also vandalized.  It too was replaced by Monday morning.

The dedication markers from both were stolen.

Ferguson Mayor, James Knowles III said replacement markers for both trees had already been ordered.

Anyone with information on this crime should call CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.

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