A man with a skateboard was filmed in broad daylight from multiple angles getting silver paint out of his backpack and splashing it onto the front of the George Floyd memorial statue in Union Square, New York, as he rode on by Sunday. New York police are now offering a $3,500 reward for information on this man that leads to his arrest, which doesn’t seem unlikely considering how far the video of this act of hateful vandalism has spread online already.
The video footage, likely from security cameras set up after the last time someone vandalized this statue, shows a man carrying a skateboard and lingering around before ducking behind the bust of the late Rep. John Lewis to dig the paint out of his bag. He then throws the paint onto the front of the George Floyd bust as he rolls on by on his board in front of at least two witnesses who looked to be filming the memorials themselves.
The Floyd monument was created by artist Chris Carnabuci, who also sculpted the Lewis memorial and one of Breonna Taylor, the woman who was killed by Louisville police after they fired a barrage of bullets into her apartment during a raid looking for a man who was not there and had already been arrested.
The act of vandalism is being investigated by the New York Hate Crime Task Force, likely assuming that there is no other reason to throw paint onto the memorial of a Black man who became the spark for a national Black Lives Matter uprising in 2020 after he was violently murdered by a white police officer. Racists across the country have attacked all kinds of memorials and monuments created in Floyd’s name, sometimes during daylight hours and in view of various cameras, somehow thinking they won’t experience consequences.
The same memorial bust was vandalized with black paint in July and tagged with “Patriot Front,” a white nationalist hate group with chapters in many states. In May, a man with an ax was filmed attacking a Floyd memorial in Minneapolis, close to where Floyd was murdered, knocking down signs and breaking windows before he’s spotted and chased off.
Thankfully, back in New York, volunteers quickly went to work to remove the paint from the Floyd bust, reportedly paying out of their own pockets for the appropriate supplies. Having anticipated likely acts of vandalism Carnabuci deliberately worked with a medium that would be easy to clean and restore. He and the artists and activists he had worked with are considering moving the memorials around more often in order to “keep the awareness up” on the issue of white supremacy and police brutality.
“It’s incredibly disappointing how the statues were defaced in such a short amount of time, and it just goes to show you how far we still have to go to reach our goal of unity,” said Floyd’s brother Terrance on Sunday.