FREDERICK, Md. (WJZ) — A controversial statue becomes a target for vandalism in Frederick. Police say someone poured paint all over a statue of Justice Roger Taney — a member of the Supreme Court who was pro-slavery.

Christie Ileto has the search for the vandals that’s underway right now.

Police have few leads on who vandalized the statue that’s once again becoming a hot-button topic for residents who live there.

Smudges of red paint linger on an iconic but controversial 84-year-old statue that’s now at the center of a vandalism investigation.

“It looked like a large quantity of red paint had been poured over the top of the statue,” said Sgt. Aaron Lapp, Frederick City Police Department.

A quarter gallon, to be exact, smothered the Roger B. Taney statue — a Maryland native who authored the Dred Scott decision, upholding slavery.

Police say this isn’t the first time the statue has been vandalized, but it’s the worst damage thus far.

“I didn’t like [the vandalism]. I thought it was stupid,” said Warren and Carole Larkin, residents.

The statue recently resurged as a source of controversy. Some say it’s offensive; others say it’s part of history.

In August, the City Council opened discussions to remove the statue from outside City Hall.

The local NAACP chapter is saying “…[it] has no place here,” though activists posting online say they don’t condone the weekend vandalism.

“We’re still trying to determine if this is just mischief or teen vandalism or if it’s something more serious that has more of a message behind it,” Sgt. Lapp said.

A factor that could bring more charges.

Police are reviewing video surveillance in the area.

Anyone with information is asked to contact Frederick police.

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