New York City police are looking for a group of four men after a statue of George Floyd unveiled less than a week ago was vandalized with a spray-painted white supremacist symbol, reports noted on Friday.
Surveillance video shows what appears to be a group of four men, one of whom is shaking a spray paint can, approaching the statue in Brooklyn, which was unveiled in time for the Juneteeth celebration on June 19. The NYPD says the statue was defaced in the early morning hours on Thursday with black spray paint.
The NYPD says it is treating the incident as a possible hate crime after finding the website and logo for Patriot Front, a white supremacist organization, spray-stenciled on the statue’s head.
The defacing came a day before Floyd’s murderer, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, is to be sentenced, the Daily Mail reported.
The surveillance footage shows the four hooded men approaching the statue around 3:40 a.m. on Thursday, before departing a short time later.
Formed in 2017, the Patriot Front is a group that says it is honed in on preserving what they deem as America’s anglo-Saxon, white European identity, according to a description from the Anti-Defamation League, which itself leans left.
As such, the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force has taken over the investigation and is being assisted by the Racial and Ethnically Motivated Extremism unit.
Farah Louis, an NYC council member representing the Flatbush neighborhood and region, blasted the vandalism on social media.
‘Today my office learned that the George Floyd sculpture at Flatbush Junction has been vandalized,” she wrote, according to the Daily Mail.
“This is a hate crime and totally unacceptable to the memory of Mr. Floyd and to the Black community as well as our efforts to achieve #racialjustice and equality in America,” she continued, adding that she is in contact with Chris Carnabuci, the statue’s artist, to figure out how to clean off the paint.
“I’m saddened by it,” Carnabuci told The New York Times, adding, “I’m not completely shocked.”
He added that he was taken aback by how fast the statue was vandalized after it was unveiled.
“It was so quickly afterward that it happened. Maybe that was a surprise,” he said.
An angry Gov. Andrew Cuomo also ripped the vandals on Twitter.
“I am directing the @nyspolice Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation of the defacing of the George Floyd monument in Brooklyn. To the group of neo-Nazis who did this, I want to be absolutely clear: get the hell out of our state,” he wrote in a post containing a screengrab of a longer statement.
I am directing the @nyspolice Hate Crimes Task Force to assist in the investigation of the defacing of the George Floyd monument in Brooklyn.
To the group of neo-Nazis who did this, I want to be absolutely clear: get the hell out of our state. pic.twitter.com/Mjkpn4lVLZ
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) June 25, 2021
“This act of cowardice is not just an attack on the Black community, and it’s not just an attack on the basic human decency George Floyd and his family deserve — it’s an attack on all New Yorkers, and the values our state stands for,” he said.
Floyd was killed on Memorial Day last year. He died after Chauvin kept him pinned to the pavement using his knee for nearly nine minutes as Floyd repeatedly said he was having trouble breathing.
A subsequent autopsy found that he had fentanyl in his system at the time, but experts testified during Chauvin’s trial that they did not cause Floyd’s death.
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