Vandal hits bust of judge who issued Dred Scott ruling

FREDERICK, Md. — Frederick police are investigating the vandalism of a bust honoring the Supreme Court justice who wrote the 1857 Dred Scott decision affirming slavery.

Authorities say the bust of Roger Brooke Taney  was found covered in a red paint-like substance Sunday morning.

Frederick Police Sgt. Paul Beliveau told WTOP that police got the call at around 8:15 a.m.

“We were notified by a citizen who was passing by city hall that one of the statues in front of city hall had been defaced. There was paint of some type that had been dumped on it,” Beliveau says.

The paint was still wet when police arrived, suggesting the vandalism occurred  overnight, Beliveau tells WTOP.

The Frederick News-Post  reports that Mayor Randy McClement was seen helping a public works employee clean the statue.

Beliveau says police hadn’t identified any suspects.

Meanwhile, Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak has been leading an effort calling for the bust — which she and others consider offensive — to be removed from outside city hall.

Opponents say removing the sculpture would erase part of Frederick’s history, noting that Taney practiced law in the city.

Kuzemchak recently postponed a vote by aldermen on the issue until after a symposium on Taney earlier this month by the county historical society.

The Associated Press and WTOP’s Kathy Stewart contributed to this report.

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