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Vandalization Targets Mural Depicting Slain Activist, Police Officer

Brian Bull

A controversial mural in downtown Eugene has been vandalized, a few weeks past its unveiling.

“Fibers of History” shows various images representing the Latinx and Indigenous community. But the inclusion of a police officer and slain activist Charles Landeros was provocative.

Some locals regard Landeros as a community activist who fought systemic oppression, on behalf of people of color and transgender residents.  Landeros clashed with University of Oregon adminstrators while attending as a student, and also formed a group that trained people from underrepresented communities in firearms. 

Others regard Landeros’ actions during a 2019 child custody dispute – which ended with Landeros violating several court orders, then being shot dead by police after firing at them outside their daughter’s school – as reckless and traumatizing, especially to their kids and those on campus.

The art - and the subsequent vandalization - comes at a time when relationships among law enforcement and the general community are fraught with racial tension and mistrust, following months of activism for social justice.

The mural was slathered in blue paint sometime Monday night or early Tuesday morning.  The paint obscures Landeros’ face, as well as the police officer.  “Blue Lives Matter” was painted on the sidewalk.

The EPD says its Special Investigations Unit is looking into the incident.  Chief Chris Skinner says regardless of heightened emotions surrounding the imagery, vandalism is a crime, and only serves to further divide the community "at a time when we need to be coming together.”

Copyright 2020, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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