A statue of Christopher Columbus in New York City’s Central Park was vandalized early this morning—an act that the New York City Police Department says it’s investigating as a hate crime, according to the New York City Alerts Twitter account.
A statue depicting the Italian explorer, who has been credited in this country with “discovering” America even though 1) Native Americans had already lived here for millennia and 2) he never actually landed on U.S. soil, was spray-painted with the words “Hate will not be tolerated” and “#Somethingscoming.” Columbus’ hands were also stained with “blood”—a nod, no doubt, to the fact that his arrival brought widespread devastation to Native people throughout North, Central and South America.
Frankly, Columbus’ bloody hands may have made it the most accurate depiction of the controversial historical figure in the city. The statue has since been cleaned up, according to CBS New York, and the NYPD has its Hate Crime Task Force investigating the incident.
Whether through introducing disease to indigenous Americans, enslaving them or outright slaughtering them, the European conquest of the Americas was a genocidal enterprise. Nevertheless, New York City’s police will be dedicating time and resources to investigating the statue’s defacement as a hate crime.
It’s unclear at this point what “#SomethingsComing” refers to. Several Twitter users read the hashtag as a veiled warning or threat, particularly far-right groups like Far Left Watch.
Columbus statues have increasingly become flash points in New York. Some residents have called on Mayor Bill de Blasio to take down the monuments honoring the colonizer, but the pushback against Columbus has sparked outrage among Italian-American groups, who see those calls as an attack on their heritage. De Blasio, for his part, has refused to say where he falls on the issue (because elections), instead putting together a commission that will appraise the city’s controversial statues and make recommendations on their removal.
Read more at CBS New York.