A Christopher Columbus statue in Boston was beheaded overnight amid ongoing demonstrations highlighting the country’s long history with racial injustice.
The statue in a waterfront park on Atlantic Ave. in the city’s traditionally Italian North End was behind crime scene tape early Wednesday as the head lay on the ground.
Mayor Marty Walsh said he didn’t condone the vandalism but believed a review of the statue’s symbolism is needed.
“We’re going to be taking the statue down this morning, putting it into storage to assess the damage,” he said at a morning press conference.
“This particular statue has been the subject of repeated vandalism here in Boston. And given the conversations that we’re certainly having right now in our city of Boston, and throughout the country, we’re also going to take time to assess the historic meaning of the statue.”
Pressed on whether the city might put the statue back up, he said, “We’ll have a conversation at some point.”
Someone reported the beheading at 12:30 a.m. Wednesday, but officers who responded to the scene at 110 Atlantic Ave. had no immediate suspect information, Boston Police said.
In June 2015, the statue was splashed with red paint and emblazoned with the words “Black Lives Matter."
Monuments to figures who shaped the country’s history of slavery and genocide have been targeted by protesters after George Floyd’s recent death in Minneapolis police custody.
A Columbus statue in Richmond, Va., was toppled from its pedestal, spray-painted, set on fire and thrown into a lake on Tuesday night, NBC 12 reported.
Earlier Tuesday, activist Chelsea Higgs-Wise and other protesters spoke to a crowd gathered at Byrd Park in Richmond about the struggles of indigenous people and African-Americans in America.
“We have to start where it all began,” Higgs-Wise said during her speech. “We have to start with the people who stood first on this land.”
On Saturday, a statue of Confederate Gen. Williams Carter Wickham was toppled in Richmond’s Monroe Park, on the campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.
A statue of a Confederate general in a Richmond, Va., park toppled Saturday night after anti-racism protests sweeping the nation.https://t.co/EYiPR0zfCB
— New York Daily News (@NYDailyNews) June 7, 2020
Some of Wickham’s descendants previously urged the city to remove the statue, citing their ancestor’s racism.
With News Wire Services