City leaders, community condemn ‘intentional’ vandalism of mural of fallen cop

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — “It shouldn’t have happened,” said Shakira Wilson-Burroughs, vehemently scolding the vandalism of her late brother’s mural in Cobbs Creek.

She stood alongside city officials and community leaders Tuesday morning at the site, harshly condemning whoever defaced the image of the fallen police officer.

The mural was spraypainted with anti-police acronyms, like “FTP” and “ACAB,” right below the smiling face of Sgt. Robert Wilson III.

“He laid his life on the line. He gave his children and this community, his kids, his nephews something to look up for,” Wilson-Burroughs said.

Her beloved brother was fatally shot while interrupting a robbery inside a North Philadelphia GameStop in March 2015. He was only there to buy a videogame for his son.

He’s praised for saving the lives of patrons inside.

Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said anti-police vandalism is becoming an all-too-frequent occurrence. 

“We’ve seen the same types of vandalism on our patrol vehicles. We’ve seen arsons of our patrol vehicles, and we’ve seen a very clear intention to do harm against the people who are leaving their loved ones on holidays, birthdays, leaving their families to come out and protect and serve those who they might not even know.

“Some folks may think this was an outsider who had no idea what they were doing, or who didn’t put in any thought to what they were doing, or didn’t even think about who this person was on the mural,” she said. “I disagree with that. I think it was intentional. I think it was blatant disrespect.”

Authorities are still trying to figure out who vandalized the Southwest Philadelphia mural over the weekend. Most of the spraypainted letters have already been washed away, but some faded black edges remain.

“We’ve got it back together,” said Mayor Jim Kenney. “We’re going to try to light it up and send a message to people that you have to think before you do stupid things.

“That was a human being, a father, a son, a brother,” he continued, “and his memory does not deserve to be defaced. I don’t care what you’re standing up for.”

Wilson grew up blocks from the neighborhood that he then served as an adult, as did state Sen. Anthony Williams, who spoke about repairing the deep divide caused by police brutality.

“Those who serve in blue who have the best intention of service,” he said, “we believe they can support us and we can support them.”

Representatives from the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office were in attendance Tuesday, but not District Attorney Larry Krasner himself. Wilson’s family has previously criticized Krasner for not trying the case against his now-convicted shooters

Investigators are looking through surveillance video hoping to identify the vandal. There’s an $11,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.