The New York Police Department has released video footage of an individual vandalizing a bust of George Floyd in Union Square.
Police said the incident took place on Sunday, Oct. 3, around 10:14 a.m. The video shows an unidentified medium-built man wearing black and green and carrying a green backpack hiding behind a nearby bust of the late Rep. John Lewis.
He is soon seen riding on a skateboard up to the pedestal of the Floyd carving, where, without stopping, he then tosses gray paint on the face and base of the monument before casually riding off heading north on the west side of the park. The paint reportedly was water-based, making it easy to remove.
This is the second time the figure has been targeted. In June, four men wearing bandanas who are thought to be tied to a white supremacist group defaced the work with black paint and spray-painted a white supremacist graffito it as it stood at its original home at Flatbush Junction in Brooklyn. It was later restored and sent to Union Square, where a gathering was held for its unveiling on Sept. 30.
The display was one of three busts created by artist Chris Carnabuci as part of a series titled the “SeeInJustice.” The art installation was dedicated to Floyd, who died in May 2020 after Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.
The tribute also featured designs of 26-year-old slain EMT worker Breonna Taylor, who was shot by Louisville, Kentucky, police in March 2020, and John Lewis. The iconic civil rights leader and longtime Georgia congressman died in July 2020 following an eight-month battle with pancreatic cancer. The other two busts were not damaged at the time of the Flatbush Junction incident.
Carnabuci told The New York Times that before they were relocated to Union Square he repainted all three works, which are wood carvings covered with a special paint, in a manner in which they’d be easier to clean should one be vandalized again.
“It is quite upsetting to us all,” the artist told the outlet, though he admitted he wasn’t surprised the artwork was damaged. He continued, “Vandalism of any sort is not an action that is productive or meaningful. Actions like this remind us that we have a long way to go, and we will never stop fighting.”
Authorities say no arrest has been made and the NYPD’s hate crimes task force was investigating the matter.
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