A statue of George Floyd, unveiled just five days ago in Brooklyn, New York, to commemorate Juneteenth, was vandalized early Thursday morning, police and the creators of the statue have confirmed.
Black paint was thrown over Floyd’s bust, which had been placed in Flatbush Junction near Brooklyn College, and stenciled white graffiti spelling out the URL of a fascist group’s website was spray-painted on the base of the statue commemorating the 46 years. old black man who was killed by police in Minneapolis on May 25, 2020.
A spokesperson for the New York Police Department said officers discovered the vandalism early Thursday. “There are no arrests and the investigation is ongoing,” the spokesperson said in a statement.
NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force tweeted he was investigating the incident.
Lindsay Eshelman – co-founder of ConfrontART, which partnered with the We Are Floyd Foundation, started by Floyd’s brother Terence Floyd, to erect the statue – said police told her the vandalism had taken place. probably occurred between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Thursday, the two-hour window when officers were not stationed near the statue.
Eshelman, who spoke to HuffPost by phone Thursday while helping to repaint the statue, said she was “devastated” to learn of the vandalism.
But she also sent out a message of defiance to the vandals: “You are cowards. You did this at night when no one could see you. I’ll restore it the day everyone can see your hate.
Terence Floyd, who attended the unveiling of the statue, heard of the vandalism just as his flight landed in Minneapolis Thursday morning. On Friday, he will sit in a courtroom to watch the policeman who murdered his brother be sentenced, possibly to decades in prison.
Vandalism, Floyd told HuffPost in a statement, “is a perfect example of why we are so diligent in promoting change. As a community, we must stand together in peace and turmoil.
Farah Louis, the New York City Councilor who represents the area where the statue is located, tweeted that the vandalism was “a heinous crime and totally unacceptable to Mr. Floyd’s memory and to the black community.”
Mayor Bill de Blasio also tweeted: “Last night a far-right group vandalized a statue of George Floyd in Brooklyn. An act of racist, odious and contemptible hatred. The City Cleanup Corps is repairing the statue right now and a hate crimes investigation is underway. We will bring these cowards to justice.
Patriot Front, the white supremacist group whose website was spray painted on base, claimed vandalism earlier this month of a George Floyd mural in Philadelphia.
A video posted to the group’s Telegram channel on June 12 shows three masked men painting over the Philadelphia mural on the night of June 3, then degrading it further with spray-painted Patriot Front logos.
Patriot Front, which is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, originated from another white supremacist organization called Vanguard America, which disbanded shortly after one of its members drove his car into a crowd of anti-fascist protesters in Charlottesville. , Virginia, in 2017, killing one and injuring 19 others.
Members of the group fear exposure and mostly keep their identities a secret, sneaking around at night in masks while filming themselves placing Patriot Front stickers or flyers on lampposts or other public and private property.
The group also held lightning marches in Washington, Nashville and other cities, where they showed up with masks and filmed themselves singing for a few minutes before rushing to their cars and driving away. before they can be confronted.
“The Patriot Front explicitly excludes people of color from its conception of pan-European identity as a genuine America,” Susan Corke, head of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project, told HuffPost. “And their method of operation is to stage offensive racist propaganda stunts. So this heinous and hateful degradation of the George Floyd statue is no longer the same garbage. “
Patriot Front, which did not return a request for comment from HuffPost, did not take responsibility for the vandalism in Brooklyn.
The 6-foot sculpture of Floyd, whose murder sparked a wave of anti-racist uprisings across America last year, was unveiled on June 17, a newly recognized federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of slaves in the United States .
“It’s a major statement for a person of full age,” Terence Floyd told NBC during the unveiling of artist Chris Carnabuci’s sculpture. “Seeing Brooklyn represent him and honor him on a national holiday is all the love.”
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