A neighbouring police inspector has put his support behind Victoria Police Chief Del Manak and his request for the partial removal of a recently painted mural in Bastion Square.
Manak came forward last week, expressing concerns for a city-sponsored mural that was painted by Black, Indigenous and people of colour (BIPOC) artists.
The mural that scrawls across the Bastion Square courtyard reads “More Justice, More Peace,” however, Manak’s concern focuses on an acronym that was painted inside the letter ‘S.’
The acronym is ACAB, which is commonly held to mean All Cops Are Bastards.
Manak and the Victoria Police Department perceive the acronym to be anti-police and are describing that portion of the mural as “deeply disrespectful” to officers who serve in the city.
On Tuesday, West Shore RCMP Inspector, Todd Preston, released a written statement that echoed Chief Manak’s sentiments.
“While the message of ‘More Justice, More Peace’ is a welcomed one, the hate displayed by the use of ACAB is not,” said Preston.
Please have a read of a statement issued by @WestshoreRCMP Officer in Charge, Inspector Todd Preston, calling for inclusion and supporting @ChiefManak and @vicpdcanada pic.twitter.com/zwJWcu6IjG
— West Shore RCMP (@WestshoreRCMP) September 1, 2020
Preston also suggests that the message is “particularly disrespectful” towards officers, their families and the respective communities – highlighting that many officers on Vancouver Island and beyond have lost their lives in the line of duty.
“The divisive language used in this mural is not the way forward and if we want a safer community, we must have meaningful dialogue inclusive of all people and groups in our society, including those wearing a uniform.”
In response to the Victoria Police Department and the concerns over the ACAB acronym, the city reached out to mural organizers via e-mail and asked them to remove the text.
Mural leader Charity Williams, who received the mural, said last week the city’s request was seen as insulting.
“To me personally it feels like oppression, it feels like we are continuously asking and demanding for more justice and more peace and they are continuously putting us down and that what we feel doesn’t matter,” Williams said.
Williams said the city initially praised her for the mural but believes that sentiment has now changed.
“To me, it feels like the City of Victoria is saying yeah sure here’s a mural, but anything of importance or anything that actually points a finger to us is not allowed,” added Williams.
Manak had intentions of meeting with a group of artists who worked on the mural as well as leaders in the black community in an effort to “bridge those gaps.”
At this time, the acronym remains as part of the BIPOC mural.