BOSTON (WBZ NewsRadio) — According to Mayor Marty Walsh, a vandalized statue of Christopher Columbus will be removed from Boston's North End as the city decides what its fate should be.
"We don't condone vandalism, and it needs to stop," said Mayor Walsh at a press conference on Wednesday. "This particular statue has been subject to repeated vandalism here in Boston. Given the conversations we're having right now in the city of Boston, and throughout the country, we're also going to take time to assess the historic meaning of the statue."
The statue of Columbus was installed in the North End in 1979. In 2004, it was splashed with red paint and the word, “murderer” was sprayed on the base. The head was also cut off in 2006, and it was doused with red paint in 2015 with the words “Black Lives Matter” spray-painted on its base.
The statue, which is located on Atlantic Avenue, was found beheaded again in the early hours of Wednesday morning, with the head laying on the ground nearby. The incident is still being investigated.
"We are going to be taking the statue down this morning," said Mayor Walsh, "and [we're] putting it into storage to assess the damage to the statue."
Walsh said he has been meeting with members of his cabinet and elected officials of color in an attempt to "creat[e] a conversation that can be sustained and lead to permanent solutions and systemic change."
Columbus is widely credited as being one of the first Europeans in the New World, however critics say his trip began the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Columbus is also widely criticized for his violent treatment and killing of scores of Native Americans, who see him as a racist.
The most recent act of vandalism against Columbus' statue follows two weeks of nationwide demonstrations by protestors calling for justice in the killing of George Floyd, and for an end to police brutality.
Over the past week, several monuments to slaveowners have been torn down across the world.
In Bristol, England, protestors tore down the statue of 17th century slave trader Edward Colston and threw it into the harbor where his slave ships used to dock. In Richmond, Va., a Columbus statue was vandalized, toppled, set on fire, and thrown into a lake. On the campus of Texas A&M, a statue of Lawrence Sullivan Ross was left wearing a rainbow wig and covered in graffiti.
WBZ NewsRadio's Kim Tunnicliffe (@KimWBZ) reports