George Floyd statue vandalized in NYC’s Union Square two days after unveiling
A statue of George Floyd in New York City’s Union Square was vandalized on Sunday, two days after it was first unveiled as part of an exhibition that also features busts of Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Breonna Taylor.
A man was captured on video footage Sunday hurling paint at the bust of Floyd at around 10 a.m before leaving the scene, according to The Associated Press, citing police. The statues of Taylor and Lewis were reportedly left unharmed.
Police have not released the video of the incident.
— Don Lemon (@donlemon) October 3, 2021
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) wrote in a tweet on Monday that she has directed the New York State Police’s Hate Crime Task Force to provide any assistance authorities may need in their investigation that is looking for the perpetrator behind the vandalism.
This act of cowardice and hate is reprehensible.
— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) October 4, 2021
The exhibition, dubbed “SEEINJUSTICE,” opened to the public on Friday. The three statues — each almost six feet tall and weighing approximately 1,000 pounds — are made of 200 layers of African mahogany plywood that is coated with bronze metallic paint, according to The New York Times.
The display, made by artist Chris Carnabuci, 57, was inspired by the events that took place in 2020, according to Confront Art, an organization that links artists with social justice causes to create public art.
Racial injustice protests broke out last year in response to the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who were both killed at the hands of police.
Lewis, a civil rights activist who was injured by police during the 1965 “Bloody Sunday” protests in Alabama, died in July of last year.
Confront Art in a statement said the series “aims to honor the lives and ongoing messages through art, tying together three iconic people.” The group also said the exhibition was installed in Union Square because the area “has historically protected the right to free speech and demonstration.”
The statues, which are named “FLOYD,” “BREONNA” and “JOHN LEWIS” will be on display in Union Square until Oct. 30. After that, they will be brought to different cities throughout the country.
Once the tour is over, the statues will be auctioned off, with proceeds going towards charities connected to Floyd, Taylor and Lewis.
Terrence Floyd, a brother of George Floyd, said the “monuments have meaning,” according to the Times. He also said that the name of the group behind the display, Confront Art, made him comfortable with the exhibition.
“It’s literally art that’s confrontational,” Floyd said. “This can’t be avoided. This shouldn’t be avoided. It has to be known.”
Carnabuci, in a statement last week, said the installation represents a “global understanding” of racial injustice, adding that such an awareness can lead to action and change.
“As a result of the death of George Floyd, there came a global awareness and understanding of the plague of injustice across the world,” Carnabuci said.
“The exhibit represents this global understanding, and from understanding comes action, and from action comes change,” he added.
The statue of Floyd was first unveiled on Juneteenth on Flatbush Avenue, according to the AP. It was reportedly vandalized five days after being unveiled at that location, when it was tarnished with black paint and the markings of a white supremacy group.
This story was updated at 4:44 p.m. on Oct. 4.