According to local law enforcement officials, a statue of George Floyd, unveiled for Juneteenth less than one week ago, has been vandalized in New York City.
The New York Police Department (NYPD) Task Force announced that they have opened an investigation into the incident.
Floyd died a little over one year ago in an arrest involving excessive force by former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, sparking nationwide protests and riots.
Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in April.
Five days after the Juneteenth reveal, the NYPD announced that “officers discovered graffiti on a George Floyd bust statue and pedestal” in Brooklyn.
“An unknown individual spray-painted the statue’s face black and covered the words on the pedestal with the black spray paint,” they said.
Additionally, a link to a website for a group associated with white supremacists was found on the pedestal.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took to social media to announce that the George Floyd statue had been vandalized, prompting a hate crime investigation.
New York City council member Farah N. Louis (D) agreed that the vandalism amounted to a hate crime.
“Today my office learned that the George Floyd sculpture at Flatbush Junction has been vandalized,” she said.
“This is a hate crime and totally unacceptable to the memory of Mr. Floyd and to the Black community as well as our efforts to achieve [racial justice] and equality in America.”
Louis described the statue as “beautiful and important.”
De Blasio, who views the vandalism of a George Floyd statue as a hate crime, created a commission in 2017 to study the removal of a statue of explorer Christopher Columbus.
The Columbus statue was vandalized around that same time period, his hands stained with red paint and the pedestal covered with graffiti including the hashtag “#somethingscoming.”
No hate crimes were filed at the time, though de Blasio did sternly explain to the perpetrators that “vandalism isn’t the answer.”
This past week, the American Museum of Natural History in New York City announced that it was removing an iconic statue of President Theodore Roosevelt.
Roosevelt is a man of such historic importance that he is memorialized on Mount Rushmore with George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Abraham Lincoln – widely considered some of America’s most important presidents.
De Blasio pushed for the removal of Roosevelt’s statue last year claiming it “explicitly depicts Black and Indigenous people as subjugated and racially inferior.”
Roosevelt famously invited Booker T. Washington to dine with him in the White House.
A statue of George Floyd in Newark, New Jersey was also reportedly vandalized.
Terrence Floyd, his brother, told NBC News that the statues were “a major statement for a major person.”
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