A museum created by slain civil rights leader Sadie Roberts-Joseph was vandalized exactly a month after her death.
On Monday, a visitor to the Odell S. Williams Museum posted photos on Facebook showing toppled benches, windows lying on the ground and objects thrown into a garden. A Baton Rouge Police spokesman told The Advocate the damage is currently under investigation. It is unclear when the vandalism occurred or if anything inside the museum was affected.
Kevin Hayes, another visitor, also noticed something was off when he visited the grounds to pay his respects to Roberts-Joseph. He saw broken benches, crystals torn out of fountains, the garden trampled and overturned props.
"It's a historic Black museum, and a lot of kids find time to not do harmful things by coming to this place," Hayes told WBRZ. "Seeing it vandalized is heartbreaking."
Hayes tried to file a police report, but he was dismissed because he wasn’t an owner. Baton Rouge police said the refusal was a misunderstanding.
“It needs to stop and we need to come together as a community and protect this place no matter what race, color, creed you are," Hayes continued. "We need to stand together for someone who was doing something right."
Roberts-Joseph’s son was also informed of the vandalism and called it “disrespectful and extremely disappointing."
The museum has been closed since Roberts-Joseph’s body was discovered in the trunk of her car on July 12. Her tenant, Ronn Bell, was arrested for her death. Investigators determined Roberts-Joseph was strangled and suffocated.