To celebrate Juneteenth this year, the city of Brooklyn, New York, unveiled a statue of George Floyd, honoring the Minneapolis man killed by former Officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020. But in less than a week, the New York Times reported that a white supremacist group had vandalized the large bust by defacing it with spray paint and their group’s logo.
According to CNN, a website stenciled in white spray paint was found on the base of the statue, with black spray paint on the face. Police are now investigating whether or not the July 24 incident qualifies as a hate crime. A similar event occurred in Philadelphia, where witnesses discovered a mural of Floyd vandalized with the same logo, the New York Times reported.
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Chris Carnabuci, the artist behind the Brooklyn statue, told the New York Times that he’s “saddened by it,” but “not completely shocked,” adding, “It was so quickly afterward that it happened. Maybe that was a surprise.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio addressed the tagging in a tweet last Thursday, writing, “Last night a far-right extremist group vandalized a statue of George Floyd in Brooklyn. A racist, loathsome, despicable act of hate. The City Cleanup Corps is repairing the statue right now, and a hate crime investigation is underway. We will bring these cowards to justice.”
Last night a far-right extremist group vandalized a statue of George Floyd in Brooklyn. A racist, loathsome, despicable act of hate.
The City Cleanup Corps is repairing the statue right now and a hate crime investigation is underway. We will bring these cowards to justice. pic.twitter.com/mTwzwIyG4z
— Mayor Bill de Blasio (@NYCMayor) June 24, 2021
According to CNN, the New York Police Department is investigating four men connected with the vandalism incident, who they allegedly have on video walking towards the statue before the spray-painting.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo minced absolutely no words in his address to the racist taggers. According to CNN, he stated, “To the group of neo-Nazis who did this, I want to be absolutely clear: get the hell out of our state.”
Cuomo also directed the State Police Hate Crimes Task Force to assist the NYPD in the ongoing investigation.