Respect

George Floyd mural reportedly destroyed by lightning bolt

Story at a glance

  • Witnesses told authorities lightning struck the brick building Tuesday evening.
  • Radar confirmed lightning hit the area prior to the collapse.
  • But some are skeptical of what caused the collapse.

A large mural painted on the side of a brick building in Toledo, Ohio, honoring George Floyd was reduced to a heap of rubble Tuesday evening after it was reportedly struck by lightning. 

Local ABC 13 reports witnesses told authorities that responded to the scene they saw lightning strike the building at the site of the collapse. The news station’s doppler radar did confirm that a lightning strike hit the area prior to the mural’s collapse, and the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department listed the cause as lightning strike. 

Photos posted to social media show a large portion of the mural destroyed, with fragments still remaining on the wall along its border. 

But some are skeptical of what caused the collapse. City building inspector Hugh Koogan told The Toledo Blade the wall appeared to crumble due to natural deterioration. 

“It was just age. It just came away,” Koogan told the news outlet. “It happens to the older buildings.”

The artist who painted the “Take a Breath” mural last year shortly after Floyd’s death questioned whether it could’ve been vandalism. 


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“When I did the mural, there was stuff on the wall that I couldn’t remove and that let me know how strong that structure was,” David Ross told The Toledo Blade. “The lightning thing, that’s possible, but I know it didn’t just fall.” 

City officials said they are working to ensure the mural is replaced. 

Floyd was killed on May 25, 2020 after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes during an arrest. The gruesome incident was caught on video and sparked widespread protests against racial inequality and police brutality. 

Chauvin was sentenced to more than 22 years in prison in June. 


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