Lightning reportedly struck a mural honoring George Floyd, causing the Toledo, Ohio, display that was created by local artist David Ross to crumble.
The now-collapsed mural, which is called “Take a Breath,” was completed almost exactly one year ago. According to ABC affiliate WTVG, Action News 13, in Toledo, doppler radar indicated that the lightning strike did occur on the street where the mural is located at about 4:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday.
This suggests that witness reports of an electrical discharge from the atmosphere were accurate. Based on witness testimony, the city’s fire department currently classifies the cause of the collapse on the side of the building that was formerly home to a bar as a lightning strike.
Building inspectors reportedly claim that the structure itself is sound; instead, the outer layer of bricks is the problem.
UPDATE: Witnesses have told authorities that the George Floyd mural was struck by lightning before it collapsed. https://t.co/u0QHZVh7Zp
— WTVG 13abc (@13abc) July 13, 2021
Minneapolis resident George Floyd died in police custody on May 25, 2020, an encounter that ignited nationwide protests. A jury convicted ex-police officer Derek Chauvin, who was filmed pinning Floyd’s neck with his knee for about nine minutes, for second- and third-degree murder, plus second-degree manslaughter. In the penalty phase, a judge sentenced Chauvin to 22-1/2 years in prison.
Statues, murals, and other tributes around the county have been constructed to honor George Floyd’s memory. This particular mural became a gathering spot for the community.
Toledo’s George Floyd mural at Summit and Lagrange collapsed today. A city building inspector says it was “just age. It just came away.” They had noticed it bowing recently. pic.twitter.com/pXcFqfznFc
— Kaitlin Durbin (@njKaitlinDurbin) July 13, 2021
According to the Toledo Blade, a city building inspector questioned the lightning-strike premise and asserted that the cause of the collapse was likely “natural deterioration” that is common with older buildings.
Artist Ross, who indicated he received threats and was subject to criticism during the creation of the mural, also seemed skeptical, the Blade noted, and raised the possibility of vandalism.
“When I did the mural, there was stuff on the wall that I couldn’t remove and that let me know how strong that structure was. The lightning thing, that’s possible, but I know it didn’t just fall. I’m not upset because I know I’m going to do it again, whether it was natural or vandalism.”
The building owner is currently taking measures to secure the property. Support beams have been installed as an immediate step, and cops have barricaded the sidewalk.
Watch a report from WTVG as edited and modified by YouTuber DRrobert:
Separately, the NYPD is on the lookout for four men who are suspected of vandalizing a newly-unveiled George Floyd statue in Brooklyn with a spray-painted, allegedly white supremacist symbol.
The incident caught on surveillance video in the early morning hours of June 24. The vandalism is under investigation as a possible hate crime. Reports of vandalism of other George Floyd tributes elsewhere have also emerged.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) June 26, 2021
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