State Watch

Chicago mayor has Christopher Columbus statue removed from city park

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) ordered a controversial statue of Christopher Columbus removed from the city’s Grant Park in the early hours of Friday morning after tense clashes between protesters and police.

Crews arrived around 1 a.m. and a few dozen people cheered when the statue came down a few hours later, the Chicago Tribune reported.

It is not immediately clear where the statue will be taken. The Hill has reached out to Lightfoot’s office for comment.

The Chicago Tribune noted that the move is a reversal from Lightfoot, who initially opposed taking down the statue on the grounds that it would erase the history of the Italian explorer. She has also rejected calls to rename the Columbus Day holiday.

The swift removal came hours after hundreds of protesters gathered outside of Lightfoot’s home in the Logan Square neighborhood. Demonstrators were informed of the statue’s fate by an activist with a megaphone. 

The removal of the statue came one week after protesters and law enforcement clashed when demonstrators vandalized and attempted to topple the monument. 

Demonstrators were seen throwing objects and firing fireworks at officers surrounding the statue before police responded with tear gas and other deterrent measures. 

At least 20 complaints of police brutality were filed against the city’s cops, according to The Tribune.

President Trump on Wednesday criticized the crime rate in Chicago and announced that he would send federal law enforcement officers to the Windy City, as well as other communities ran by Democrats facing widespread protests and violence. 

Lightfoot urged Trump not to send federal agents into the city, saying “secret” agents would make the community less safe.

“Any other form or militarized assistance within our borders that would not be within our control or within the direct command of the Chicago Police Department would spell disaster,” the mayor wrote in a letter to Trump.

She said the White House should instead focus on initiatives to curb gun violence that has long plagued the city.

“In the end, we very much want to partner with an executive branch that respects our city, inclusive of all our residents,” Lightfoot wrote in a letter to Trump earlier this week. “Partnership includes respect that you have not shown our residents as of late in mocking the level of violence that challenges Chicagoans.”

The removal of the statue comes as protesters across the nation call for the dismantling of monuments commemorating the country’s racist past. While most statues that have been targeted are of Confederate figures, some demonstrators have called for monuments of Columbus and slave-owning presidents like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson to be removed, as well. 

The famed explorer has long been criticized for his treatment of Indigenous people in the Americas after he landed in 1492.

National protests over race and police brutality were sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died after a then-Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes during a Memorial Day arrest.

Tags Black Lives Matter Chicago Chicago Police Department christopher columbus Columbus statue Donald Trump George Floyd protests Lori Lightfoot

Copyright 2023 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

See all Hill.TV See all Video

Most Popular

Load more


See all Video