A new sculpture honoring Breonna Taylor in downtown Oakland, California, was sma-shed into chunks over the weekend, and police are investigating it as an act of vand-alism.
The bu-st of Taylor, a Bla-ck woman whose fatal sho-oting by police in Louisville, Kentucky, in March prompted national prote-sts over racial justice and chants of “say her name,” had been installed only two weeks earlier in Oakland’s Latham Square.
Leo Carson, who sculpted the bu-st, said that he has visited the square several times since the work was found defa-ced on Saturday and that it appears to be an “act of rac!st aggr-ession.”
“Art matters and these vand-als know it,” Carson said. “That’s why they felt compe-lled to att-ack her, and it’s the same reason an-ti rac!st prote-sters have been te-aring down statues of Confederate generals.” Paul Chambers, an Oakland police spokesman, confirmed Monday that the incident is considered vand-alism.
Carson said it took him several months to design and construct the bu-st out of ceramic, working on it during the pand-emic after losing his restaurant job. He recently posted a picture with the bu-st on Instagram. He said he was following the news reports about Taylor and wanted to support the BLM movement.
After months of public outc-ry after Taylor, a 26-year-old emergency medical technician was k!lled in a police ra!d on her apartment and calls for the three officers involved to be arre-sted, a grand jury in September declined to directly cha-rge them in her loss. One of the three officers was f!red in June and has been ch-arged with three counts of first-degree wanton enda-ngerment related to f!ring into several apartments during the ra!d.
“Trag-ically, there are thousands of v!ctims of police v!olence that I could have chosen,” Carson said. “Breonna’s case, where the only cha-rge aga!nst the officers responsible for her k!lling was for the bu-llets that missed, dama-ging the wall behind her, is such a potent illustration of everything wrong with our system that values property over life.”
As of Monday, a GoFundMe campaign to recreate the sculpture surpassed its $5,000 goal. Carson said he is donating the additional money to Taylor’s family. A new bu-st will take several months to complete, but Carson said he an ticipates it won’t be so easily de-stroyed again: He plans to use bronze this time.
This Article First Published On NBCNEWS