Painted rock controversy: Rocks in El Dorado Hills back to honoring O’Sullivan again

Two boulders along El Dorado Boulevard - once again - have been painted in honor of fallen Sacramento police officer Tara O’Sullivan.

A little more than a week ago, the rocks were first painted as a tribute to O’Sullivan, who died in the line of duty June 19 while responding to a domestic violence call.

One of them featured a silver badge and her end of watch date. The other had a three-leaf clover, her name and a depiction of SpongeBob SquarePants. The painted rocks were accompanied by police flags, flowers and a note: “Please allow this tribute to remain until funeral services for the fallen officer have been completed. Thank you for your support and understanding.”

But two days later, the rocks were painted over with LGBT messages, and then back to blue in less than a day. They’d been left alone until Saturday, when they were painted over again.

The words “RIP Stephon Clark” and “Blue Lives Don’t Exist” were spray painted over both rocks, according to a Facebook post, in what one person called “poor taste.”

A few hours later, two boys re-painted the rocks white with positive messages of support for the police force and O’Sullivan, according to a Facebook post.

Here’s a timeline of what we know:

  • Friday, June 21: Rocks are initially painted to honor O’Sullivan, according to Scott Elliott, who drives by the rocks daily.
  • Monday, June 24: Rocks are found covered with LGBT flags, according to Sarrah Willis, an El Dorado Hills resident.
  • Monday, June 24: One rock is painted almost identically back to the one that portrayed her badge, according to Willis.
  • Tuesday, June 25: The other rock is painted blue again with the words “Live with honor, serve with pride” and “Rock is back to blue for you Tara!”
  • Saturday, June 29: Both are found spray painted with the words “RIP Stephon Clark” and “Blue Lives Don’t Exist,” according to a Facebook post.
  • Saturday, June 29: Both rocks are painted white with positive messages of police and O’Sullivan, according to Facebook post.

George Gula, an Orangevale resident who frequents a gun range near the rock site, said he understands that there are people who don’t like law enforcement but thinks the decision to paint over them was not OK.

“That’s a life that was lost unnecessarily,” he said. “That was somebody’s daughter.”

Stacy Sporleder-Maigaard agreed.

She said it wasn’t so much about the timing, since the memorial service had passed, but more about the message that was painted over the tribute to O’Sullivan.

“It’s a disgrace to Tara, her family, all law enforcement and our community,” she said via Facebook message.

As of Sunday afternoon, the rocks were still painted in O’Sullivan’s honor.

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