A statue of Christopher Columbus in New York’s Central Park has been found vandalized.
At around 7 AM on Tuesday morning, graffiti was discovered on the statue, at 65 St. and Central Drive. The graffiti read “Hate Will Not Be Tolerated.” The statue’s hands were also painted a bloody red, with the hashtag #SOMETHINGSCOMING written at its base.
The New York Police Department’s Hate Crime Task Force is assisting in the investigation. Currently, no arrests have been made, according to an NYPD spokesperson.
However, this is not the first Columbus statue to be vandalized. Just last month, a masked man filmed himself demolishing America’s oldest Christopher Columbus monument in Baltimore.
The vandalism comes amid an ongoing debate about whether or not a different New York City statue of Columbus—in Columbus Circle, on 59th St.—should be removed from its famous perch. Some have said that Columbus’s role in the subjugation of Native populations throughout the Americas should disqualify him for memorialization, but others have defended him as a symbol of Italian pride.
The Columbus debate has gained attention as the larger issue of removing Confederate monuments and other symbols of racism gained steam after the violent protests by white supremacists in Charlottesville, VA.