Leesburg police are investigating after a group of protesters in black masks painted a sidewalk in apparent protest of a COVID-19 outbreak at the Immigration Centers of America prison in Farmville.
Officers were called to the 400 block of South King Street about 6:55 p.m. Friday, where they found 20 to 25 people, one with a megaphone, town police said in a news release.
On the public brick sidewalk, police found the phrases “LIBEREN A TODXS” and “FREE THEM ALL!” painted in large blue letters.
A person who claimed to be the organizer of the group told police they were protesting for the release of all inmates currently incarcerated at the private prison in Farmville. The Trump administration flew immigrant detainees to prison this summer, according to the Washington Post. The transfer fueled a COVID-19 outbreak, with more than 300 inmates contracting the virus. One died.
Leesburg police officers requested that the group lower their volume, as well as offered the group an opportunity to clean up the paint on the sidewalk, the release said.
"The group claimed that the paint was washable and easily removable, however Loudoun County Fire Rescue attempted and was unable to remove the paint that evening," police said. "The paint has since been removed by the Town of Leesburg Department of Public Works."
Leesburg police would like to talk to anyone who witnessed the incident and who has not already spoken to law enforcement. Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective J. Mocello at 703-771-4500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you wish to remain anonymous, call the Leesburg Crime Line at 703-443-TIPS (8477).