The statues of George Floyd in Brooklyn and Newark were defaced late Thursday night, as the long-awaited sentencing of former Minneapolis Officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted of Floyd’s murder, was finalized on Friday, June 25.
Chauvin was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
As the sentence was handed down by Cahill, a gathering of Black Lives Matter supporters, nonviolence organizations, and Councilmember Farah Louis (D-Brooklyn) surrounded the taped off statue––a six-foot wooden bust of Floyd atop a five-foot pedestal––as it was being repaired on the corner of Flatbush and Nostrand Avenues intersection in Brooklyn.
The sculpture was created by artist Chris Carnabuci and unveiled June 19 by Louis for a Juneteenth celebration this year.
“It was so disrespectful for someone to come into our community because we can’t go into nobody else’s community, right? But you can come into our community and disrespect us. We were so devastated,” said Louis at the gathering. “I was pissed off for our community because for us George Floyd’s statue being here was a local landmark for our district. It was an opportunity for schools to bring students and have class trips.”
Artist Chris Carnabuci, ConfrontART, the We Are Floyd Foundation, and National Action Network (NAN), a not-for-profit, civil rights organization founded by Rev. Al Sharpton in 1991, helped organize the peaceful demonstration and repair of the statue.
“It’s a modern-day lynching what he did to George Floyd,” said a NAN organizer. “All over the world we will never, ever forget this momentum, this moment, this occasion, this situation that has brought us all to our knees as we continue the fight.”
Shanduke McPhatter, founder of Gangstas Making Astronomical Community Changes (G-MACC Inc.), which is a nonprofit that battles gun violence, said that incidents like this only encourage more violence in the community.
“When we, the Cure Violence Crisis Management System and our partners in the city, see somebody defacing our community, that means we have to step up and do more in our community as well,” said McPhatter.
NYPD said the vandalism was reported to police on Thursday at around 3 a.m. Four “unidentified” males used black spray paint to deface the monument and text on the pedestal and white spray paint was used to stencil “PATRIOTFRONT.US” on the pedestal over it, said police.
“Last night a far-right extremist group vandalized a statue of George Floyd in Brooklyn. A racist, loathsome, despicable act of hate,” tweeted Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The City Cleanup Corps is repairing the statue right now and a hate crime investigation is underway. We will bring these cowards to justice.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams said he’s calling for a federal investigation into the incident in Brooklyn and Newark, as well as any potential connection to the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol this past January.
“While vandalism can be cleaned, the desecration of the George Floyd statue in Flatbush is a lasting insult to every New Yorker,” said Adams in a statement. “Just days after its unveiling on Juneteenth, and a day before the sentencing of Floyd’s murderer, this defacing that appears connected to a white supremacy hate group may have been an attempt to strike terror into our community—and it should be investigated accordingly.”
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