Vandals spray paint ‘killer’ and ‘land back’ on 128-year-old statue of Christopher Columbus in Central Park
- Police are looking for a man and a woman who vandalized the New York statue
- The image was seen with the words ‘land back’ written in red spray paint
- The most left-wing parties have previously threatened to tear down the controversial image
A statue of Christopher Columbus in New York City was vandalized with the words “murderer” splattered in red paint.
Police are looking for two people who vandalized the Central Park statue with spray paint around 11:30 p.m. Sunday. Investigators believe the suspects are a man and a woman based on unreleased footage, police said New York Post.
Pictures of the statue Monday morning showed the words “land back” and “murder” written on the historic statue that has stood in the park since 1894.
By noon, the paint seemed to have washed off the barricaded statue as the red residue on the floor was washed away.
The controversial statue has been threatened in the past by people wanting to tear it down because of “a 400-year-old historic feud.”
Police are looking for two people they believe are a man and a woman who spray-painted the Central Park statue around 11:30 p.m. Sunday.
Pictures of the statue Monday morning showed the words “land back” and “murder” written on the historic statue that has stood in the park since 1894
The Christopher Columbus statue was donated to Central Park in 1892 by the Genealogical and Biographical Society in honor of the explorer’s 400th anniversary after his arrival in the new world, according to the NYC Parks website.
The statue is a replica of the one created by artist Jeronimo Sunol in Madrid, Spain.
Commemorations of Columbus have divided America for years, as some argue that his arrival led to the genocide of indigenous peoples.
For Indians, it is seen as a symbol of violence. His arrival in the continental US in 1492 unleashed centuries of European colonization and slavery.
But to the Italian-American population, he is a hero who was a cultural icon for Italian immigrants to hang on to when they arrived on American soil in the late 1980s and faced xenophobia.
There are five Columbus in the city’s parks, including one in Central Park in Manhattan, Columbus Circle in Manhattan, Columbus Park in Downtown Brooklyn, D’Auria Murphy Park in the Bronx, and Columbus Square in Astoria, Queens.
The monuments often become the centerpiece of local Columbus Day parades and festivities.
The controversial statue has been threatened in the past by “psychotic leftists” who threatened to tear it down over “a 400-year-old historical feud”
The Christopher Columbus statue was donated to Central Park in 1892 by the Genealogical and Biographical Society in honor of the explorer’s 400th anniversary after his arrival in the new world
In February 2021, the NYPD guarded the various statues 24 hours a day amid threats of it being torn down as the nation called for an end to systemic racism following the June 2020 death of George Floyd.
At the time, a police source told the New York Post that the monument in Columbus Circle was “a known target.”
Statues, flags, and displays of Confederate or racist symbols and historical figures have been knocked down or toppled across America.
The recent incident in Central Park is a common sight among Columbus statues.
On Columbus Day in November 2020, a statue in Rhode Island was splattered with red paint amid calls to rename the day Indigenous Peoples’ Day.
In July 2020, figures in Chicago’s Grant Park and Little Italy were taken down by city officials after thousands of Black Lives Matter protesters called for their removal.
This came after California officials removed a monument to Columbus from the state capitol, ruling the presence of the “deeply polarizing historical figure” was “completely out of place” today, while a statue was decapitated in Boston in the same month.
Who was Christopher Columbus and why is he so divided?
Christopher Columbus, (1451 – 1506)
Christopher Columbus, (1451 – 1506) born in the Republic of Genoa (now Italy), was a 15th-century navigator who began European raids on the Americas. Native American activists believe the navigator was responsible for centuries of Native genocide.
Like Aristotle and others, Columbus believed the world was round. He theorized that the distance between Spain’s Canary Islands and Japan was only about 3,701 kilometers and thought he could sail west to reach Asia on a new sought-after route for spices. It was really about 12,000 miles (19,321 kilometers). Columbus based his incorrect calculations on mystical texts and finally landed on October 12, 1492 in what is now the Caribbean.
Columbus convinced the Spanish Queen Isabella to fund his journey by promising that the riches he collected would be used to fund a crusade to “reclaim” Jerusalem for Christians. Instead, he found new foods, animals, and native people who, he wrote, were childlike and easily turned into slaves.
While the natives rebelled against the brutal Spanish treatment, Columbus ordered a ruthless repression that included the parade of dismembered bodies in public. Ultimately, Columbus was arrested on charges of mismanagement and cruelty and died soon after.
About 60 years after Columbus’s arrival, the native Taino population of the Caribbean had been reduced from an estimated 250,000 people to a few hundred due to enslavement and death from emerging diseases.
However, for many Italian Americans, the Italian explorer remains an important symbol in their heritage.
Millions of Italian immigrants traveled across the Atlantic to New York’s Ellis Island in the late 1880s to 1920s to start a new life in America.
They faced xenophobia and prejudice, including one of the largest mass lynchings in American history when 11 people were murdered in New Orleans in 1891.
The Italian explorer thereby became a cultural hero for Italian immigrants to cling to during this time and Columbus Day parades began in the late 1800s.