City washes away memorial

City washes away memorial
By: Arnold Wyrick
Carbondale, IL - It's been more than two weeks since 22-year-old Ryan Livingston was found stabbed to death on a Carbondale city street.  Within days of his death, Livingston's friends created a memorial in his honor, along a retaining wall on West Walnut Street.  That's where he was found lying in a pool of blood.  He later died at Memorial Hospital of Carbondale on July 14th.
"We would see the kids gathered around there, and they would be talking to each other, they'd be grieving Ryan's death.  And talking about what happened there," says D. Gorton of Carbondale.
But city cleaning crews washed away Livingston's friends words of grief and pain on Thursday morning.
"I think it was wrong to do.  I think it's harmful to the students.  It's harmful to all of us.  It's insensitive at best," Gorton said.
"I was just horrified!  How could the city do this?  What were they thinking?  And I don't know," says Jane Adams of Carbondale.
Carbondale's Assistant City Manager explained their decision to remove the words from the wall.
"It clearly was within the domain of graffiti.  And it's on a very busy highway, people slowing down to look at it, and so on to create a traffic hazard.  So we decided it was in the best interest of the public to remove the graffiti from the wall," says Assistant City Manager Don Monty.
But that's not how Livingston's friends, or the people living in the neighborhood where the memorial was feel about the city's decision.
"I can't imagine how somebody would think that going out in the middle of the night was washing it off without talking to anybody, if that's what happened, makes any sense at all.  It's such a slap to the Ryan's family.  And at the students in the neighborhood," Adams said.
"Do they have any evidence that it slowed traffic down in the area?  Of course they say they're worried about people slowing down.  The overwhelming evidence was that it was a place where people could feel safe.  And that's what they should've been concerned about," Garton said.
" We realize that it might be of some concern to some people.  We needed to weigh the overall public safety and welfare of the community.  And we thought this was the prudent thing to do," Monty said.
Carbondale police are still asking for your help in tracking down who killed Ryan Livingston.  The suspects have been described as two black males, with a medium build.
If you have any information your asked to call the Carbondale Police Department at 618-457-3200.  There is a reward being offered through the department's Crime Stoppers.