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The monument of Francis Scott Key, a Maryland attorney whose poem formed the basis of the National Anthem, was vandalized on Wednesday in Baltimore. Along with paint strewn across the structure, the words “racist anthem” were tagged on the front as well.

Local outlet WBAL reports:

Police said someone or a group of people threw paint on the 106-year-old statue and sprayed graffiti that read “racist anthem” and “slave owner.” On the ground, the third verse of the national anthem, which highlights slavery, was written out.

“This is something that popped up recently where people think it’s a game on art to destroy property. There’s a process to go through if you have strong feelings toward any of these monuments,” Baltimore police media relations Chief T.J. Smith said.

Police, the mayor’s office and residents have condemned the vandalism.

A representative for the mayor told 11 News, “The mayor is very disappointed by this act of vandalism, which was a criminal act, and whomever is responsible should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.”

Mayor Catherine Pugh has stated that her administration will not move to take down the Key monument. There has been an uptick of statues being defaced this year, most especially those that center the period of the Confederacy. The city has removed several Confederate monuments in the past month.

Photo: screen cap

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