The vandalism, which authorities believe was committed by a white nationalist hate group, was discovered on Thursday morning. Authorities are now searching for four men who were caught on surveillance video vandalizing the Brooklyn statue, which had been unveiled on Juneteenth. The men are seen on camera using black spray-paint on the statue and pedestal, and tagging the pedestal with their fascist, neo-Nazi group’s website, patriotfront.us. The footage shows the group of men near the statue before and after the incident.
A similar act happened to a George Floyd statue in Newark, though it doesn’t seem that there is any footage of who may have done it.
“New York’s new monument to George Floyd, which was unveiled in Brooklyn just this past weekend, on Juneteenth, is more than just a memorial for a father, a son, and a friend—it’s a testament to the grief, anger, and righteous energy that his murder sparked, in our state and across the country. It’s a beacon for all who believe progress is possible, and in our ability to make it happen,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said, per ABC 7.
“And to the group of neo-Nazis who did this, I want to be absolutely clear: get the hell out of our state,” Cuomo added.
At this point, it’s uncertain whether the two incidents are connected. Both are being investigated by authorities, and volunteers worked to clean the statues. While the Newark statue is made of 700 pounds of bronze, the Brooklyn statue is made of wood—specifically 200 individual sheets of plywood that have been cut and bound together.
Mayor Bill de Blasio also commented on the situation, calling the vandalism a “racist, loathsome, despicable act of hate.”
The destruction of the statues happened ahead of Derek Chauvin’s conviction on Friday, where he could get a 20 to 25-year sentence, though prosecutors are seeking 30 years.