A bronze statue erected in honor of George Floyd was vandalized on Sunday (Oct. 3) after being on display for only a few days. According to CNN, the bust, unveiled on Thursday (Sept. 30) and opened to the public on Friday (Oct. 1), was defaced with grey paint by an unnamed person.
“There’s video footage police were able to ascertain,” said NYPD detective Frances Sammon. “They show a male ducking down under one of the statues. He then mixes something together, and, as he skates away, he throws a container of paint at the statue.”
Despite the actions of the vandal, the community came together to remove the paint. Confront Art, the organization responsible for the structure informed CNN clean-up efforts were underway before they arrived. Community members who gathered to clean the paint also shared how they had been strangers, and did not communicate ahead of the restoration process.
“It was really hard to see this larger-than-life man like this,” said Harmony Seaburg, one of the volunteers. “We’re trying to get all the paint off his face, but it’s very emotional.”
ABC 7 reported the George Floyd statue was displayed alongside statues of the late Rep. John Lewis and Breonna Taylor, all created in a similar fashion. The artwork is currently in the southern part of Union Square in Manhattan. Each statue is formed from 200 thinly cut slices of African Mahogany painted bronze and weighs 1,000 lbs. They will remain on display through Oct. 30 before being auctioned off with proceeds going toward charity.
“The exhibition is entitled ‘SEEINJUSTICE’—in one way or another, each of these individuals saw injustice,” said artist Chris Carnabuci to the news outlet.
“I’m not shocked, but I’m still pissed,” he said. “It’s a very counterproductive thing to do, and it’s not the kind of civil discourse—the keyword being civil—I wanted,” Carnabuci said to CNN.
This is not the first time the George Floyd statue was damaged. According to NBC News, while on display in Brooklyn earlier this year it was also splattered with paint. Presented to the community on Juneteenth, on June 24, only five days later, it was vandalized with black paint and marked with a symbol representing a white supremacy group.
Terrence Floyd, brother of George, was thankful to see the community come together and clean his sibling’s statue.
“I heard the news about the vandalism. I was so proud that I got word that Flatbush held it down. They really supported us, looked out for the statue, looked out for the spirit of my brother,” Terrence said at the time. “You try to stop us, but you can’t stop us. And we’re still going to continue, with love.”
Watch an ABC 7 broadcast of the statue’s unveiling in Union Square below: