Vandals deface George Floyd statues in New York, New Jersey ahead of Chauvin sentencing

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A statue honoring George Floyd that was unveiled during a Juneteenth rally in Brooklyn last week was found vandalized early Thursday, multiple outlets report. An hour away, officials in Newark, New Jersey, would make a similarly “horrible” discovery.

The graffiti in Brooklyn was discovered just before 7:20 a.m., according to PIX 11. Photos and video show the 6-foot sculpture, which features Floyd’s likeness, scrawled with black spray paint while the pedestal was defaced with a web address reportedly affiliated with a white supremacist group, according to police. .

The words “PatriotFront.Us” were sprayed in white lettering near the statue’s base, authorities said.

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Around 6 that same morning, a Newark police sergeant discovered a George Floyd statue erected near City Hall had also been hit with graffiti, according to ABC 6. The same black paint and white lettering covered the 700-pound effigy, which was unveiled June 16.

The incidents were reported a day before fired Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin, who was convicted in Floyd’s murder, is set to be sentenced. Chauvin’s lawyers put in a request for a new trial, which was denied by a judge on Friday.

Floyd, 46, died in police custody on May 25, 2020, and his death sparked massive protests across the U.S. demanding social justice. He was killed when then-officer Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes, as three other officers failed to intervene.

Patriot Front, identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as one of the most active white nationalist groups, is known for disseminating racist flyers, stickers, banners and other propaganda as a means of growing its following.

“These incidents include posting flyers and stickers in public places, attaching banners to highway overpasses, and spray-painting racist and antisemitic messages,” according to the SPLC. The group is also thought to be behind a large banner that was unfurled over a Black Lives Matter billboard in Houston, Texas, last year.

It’s unknown if the same group is responsible for vandalizing the George Floyd statues.

Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka quickly condemned “the ignorance that has reared its ugly head.”

“This horrible act is the very reason that this statue needs to remain and be upheld,” Baraka said in a statement, NJ.com reported. “As this is not just about George Floyd, it’s a deliberate effort to push back against and ultimately dismantle systems of hatred, racism, and white supremacy.”

Police in both New York and New Jersey are investigating the vandalism.

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