‘It was a hit and run’: Vandal tosses white paint on statue of George Floyd in Union Square

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Using ladders, cloth, and paint, a desperate attempt is made to remove the hate-fueled act.
Photo by Dean Moses

Two days after the statues of three prominent Black figures were unveiled on Union Square, some miscreant marred the golden visage depicting George Floyd with white paint.

Although the George Floyd bust on display at Union Square is but one of three art pieces in the public exhibit SeeInjustice developed by Confront Art, the portrayal of Floyd is the only recipient of a brash daytime vandal on Oct. 3. 

Terrence Floyd is comforted as he looks upon the statue of his brother. Photo by Dean Moses

Members of Confront Art and Floyd’s brother Terence rushed to the East Village greenspace on Sunday after an unknown defiler launched a bucket of paint at the statue on Sunday afternoon, leaving it defaced by a trail of white.

“I want to understand for real: Why do people hate my brother? Why do you hate George Floyd?” Terrence Floyd asked, becoming emotional after seeing the likeness of his loved one dripping with paint. Floyd was at a loss for words and just continued questioning: “Why do you hate a person you don’t even know?” 

This is not the first time the very same statue was defaced. While on display in Flatbush, Brooklyn, it was vandalized for the first time on June 25 by what was reported to be a group of white supremacists.

Lindsay Eshelman, the Confront Art Co-founder, was enjoying her Sunday afternoon when she was notified via Twitter that the statue of George Floyd was vandalized on Union Square.

It took six months to develop the art project SeeInjustice, so when she saw the image of George Floyd, a man who sparked a worldwide call of Black Lives Matter protests, she was deeply hurt. 

Using ladders, cloth, and paint, a desperate attempt is made to remove the hate-fueled act. Photo by Dean Moses

“It was still wet when I got here, so it was very fresh. It was remarkable that someone had done it in broad daylight, which is shocking, but the fact that it was vandalized is not shocking,” Eshelman said. 

Eshelman says that Union Square is well-surveillance by the NYPD and is counting on them to identify those who committed the crime. 

“They think it was a quick hit and run. It was a significant amount of paint, as you can see. It is going to take us all day to get it off. They don’t think it was organized and it was kind of a rogue hit,” Eshelman added. 

With the help of volunteers, the paint was removed. Yet with only two days on display, many in Confront Art are asking how long before it will happen again.