'White Lives Matter' sprayed on Arthur Ashe memorial

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FILE - This Wednesday, July 10, 1996 file photo shows the statue of Arthur Ashe by sculptor Paul Di Pasquale after its unveiling on Monument Ave. in Richmond, Va. The bronzed likeness depicts the bespectacled Ashe, clad in a warmup suit and tennis shoes, holding books high above his head in his right hand. He holds a tennis racket a slightly lower in his left hand. At his feet are four children. The likeness of the tennis great joins statues of Robert E. Lee and other Confederate icons on Richmond's most famous avenue. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- A statue of African American tennis legend Arthur Ashe on Richmond, Virginia's Monument Avenue has been vandalized with the words “White Lives Matter.”

Photos show the base of the monument tagged with white spray paint and the words “white lives matter" as well as the initials “WLM.” Those initials were then later painted over with “BLM.”

Richmond Police said they were alerted to the vandalism about 10:15 a.m. Wednesday. Police say red paint on the statue itself was already being cleaned off by community members.

Police said they have information on possible suspects and are asking the community to call their

if they have information on who is responsible for the vandalism.

The Arthur Ashe monument was dedicated in 1996 to memorialize the Richmond native and counterbalance the string of statues on Memorial Avenue dedicated to Confederate leaders.

The vandalism of the Ashe statue comes as multiple Confederate statues have been toppled, vandalized and slated for removal in the city during protests prompted by the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.