‘It’s upsetting and it’s frustrating’: Sparks City Hall vandalized with red paint

A city employee power washes the paint off the a Sparks City Hall patio after it was vandalized over night on Wednesday morning July 15, 2020.

Sparks city officials launched an investigation Wednesday after discovering city hall had been vandalized overnight.

According to Assistant City Manager Doug Thornley, city officials arrived early in the morning to find the north side of the building was splattered with red paint.

Thornley said the words “No Justice” was also spray-painted on a wall outside of the building, along with some profanities.

A handful of city council members gathered to help maintenance workers clean the building.

“It’s upsetting and it’s frustrating,” Thornley said. “It certainly does tax already taxed resources.

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“It’s time we’ve had to dedicate to remove spray paint, and it takes away from other things,” he said, adding city officials could have been focusing on more critical issues.

Thornley said the Sparks Police Department is investigating the incident and is reviewing video footage from security cameras posted around the building.

Earlier this week, more than a dozen people called into a Sparks City Council meeting demanding justice for 18-year-old Miciah Lee, who was shot and killed by Sparks police in early January.

Lee was reportedly suicidal and armed when he was shot by two police officers.

In June, Washoe County District Attorney Chris Hicks released a 50-page report that found the officers were legally justified to shoot Lee.

Several callers who participated in a city council meeting on Monday also asked for more funding for mental health resources.

Former Sparks Mayor Geno Martini called in to vigorously defended the city’s police officers. His successor, Mayor Ron Smith, also expressed frustration with callers who were demanding police change.

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Thornely said he could not speculate whether the vandalism was tied to the discussion that occurred during the recent city council meeting.

“I do think that the underlying motivation may well be the same, but the point of the matter is that the City of Sparks and all local government (entities) are examining what they are doing and how they deliver critical core services for our citizens,” he said.

“It’s a difficult issue and a complex issue, and it’s a frustrating and emotional issue for everyone involved.”

Marcella Corona is a breaking news reporter who covers crime and justice in Northern Nevada. Support her work by subscribing to RGJ.com.