KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A statue of President Andrew Jackson outside the Jackson County Courthouse was vandalized Thursday afternoon.
The statue was covered with red and yellow paint and tagged with profanity as well as the words “slave owner.”
According to the Kansas City Police Department, officers were called to the scene shortly after 5:30 p.m. regarding protesters defacing the statue.
Officers identified two suspects from a distance and took them into custody once the crowd began to disperse.
Police said both suspects, described as 25-year-old white men, are being detained for further investigation and possible charges.
The statue was covered Thursday night until county leaders decide what to do with it.
The vandalism comes during a time when there’s intense public debate about statues honoring Confederate generals and slave owners.
Jackson served as the 7th President of the United States from 1829 to 1837. During his lifetime, he enslaved hundreds of people.
Last year, the Jackson County Legislature voted to have plaques added to statues of Jackson in Kansas City and Independence detailing his history as an enslaver and support for the Indian Removal Act.
The plaques read as follows:
“In 1826, the Missouri State Legislature named this county after the hero of the Battle of New Orleans in the War of 1812 — Andrew Jackson — nearly three years before he became the nation’s seventh President.
“Almost two centuries later, we hold a broader, more inclusive view of our nation. Jackson’s ownership of slaves and his support for the Indian Removal Act are part of his history.
“The act forced Native Americans from their home territories so that white settlers could live there and triggered the Trail of Tears, a 1,000-mile march resulting in the death of thousands, including an estimated one-quarter of the entire Cherokee nation.
“This statue of Jackson reminds us we are on a path that, in the immortal words of Martin Luther King Jr., ‘bends toward justice.’
“In turn, we must acknowledge past injustices to help us create a greater nation built upon humane policies to light our way and the way of humanity everywhere. You may be entering this revered building today in a pursuit of truth or justice. Welcome. Your own history is still being written.”
Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, whose office offered to pay for the plaques, said that she believed it was important to address Jackson’s history.
“We want everyone to know that justice can be found in this building for them, too. That’s why this is important to me,” she previously said.