Long Beach police were continuing Tuesday to determine whoever is responsible for vandalizing a statue of Martin Luther King Jr.

“Over the holiday weekend our MLK statue at King Park was vandalized with horrific graffiti. The LBPD are investigating this as a hate crime and we are working to catch whoever committed this awful act,” Mayor Robert Garcia tweeted Monday.

On Tuesday, the mayor tweeted: “MLK is a hero and inspiration. We are investigating this hate crime and are focused on arresting whoever committed this awful act.”

The crime occurred Friday afternoon at Martin Luther King Jr. Park at 1950 Lemon Ave. The Long Beach Post reported that symbols resembling a swastika and Nazi SS bolts were removed by personnel from the city’s parks and recreation department.

Two civil rights activists called on Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón to file hate crime charges in the event of an arrest or arrests.

“The hate defacing of the King statue should be a wake-up call to L.A. officials that the threat of racist hate acts in L.A. County is grave,” a statement issued by Jonathan Moseley, western regional director of the National Action Network, and Earl Ofari Hutchinson, Los Angeles Urban Policy Roundtable president, reads.

They said Gascón “and other officials can and must send the strong message that racist hate violence or defacing will be met with swift and harsh prosecution.”

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