After protesters painted "Black Lives Matter" on a street outside the Florissant, Missouri, police department, the city covered it up, drawing new criticism as protests continue locally and around the US.
A photo posted to Twitter on Saturday showed a group of people painting over the stenciled words and questioned the use of a blue line of paint to do the job. "The thin blue line" has for decades been a metaphor for police work, and it's frequently included in pro-police imagery.
But according to Florissant Police Department Officer Steve Michael, the paint is not blue, but gray.
"It was painted over because it is illegal to paint the roadway," he said in an email to BuzzFeed News. "It has absolutely nothing to do with the message."
Michael added the new paint job was done by the city's street department.
"If we allow all groups to paint a message anywhere then we would have all kinds of different groups doing it," he said. "We simply cannot allow any group to paint anything on roadways."
Florissant, a St. Louis suburb, is a neighbor of Ferguson, Missouri, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by police in 2014. Locals have protested many times since then, and they once again gathered against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.
Police have at times used chemical agents on protesters, and earlier this month, an officer was fired after striking a man with an unmarked police vehicle.
The street mural was first painted on Friday, KMOV reported.
After it was initially painted over, protesters once again wrote "Black Lives Matter" in the street's center lane. It was then again painted over, a St. Louis Post-Dispatch reporter said.
But as of Sunday night, protesters were again gathering. And they were again writing out "Black Lives Matter."