Statue of George Washington toppled and wrapped in burning US flag during George Floyd protest in Portland
The monument was defaced and destroyed, with its base covered in phrases such as “Murder,” “Big Floyd,” “1619,” “F**k Cops,” “BLM,” “Land Back,” “White Fragility,” and “You’re on Native Land"
After a relatively quiet evening of demonstrations against racial injustice and police brutality in Portland, Oregon on Juneteenth, violent rioters toppled a statue of George Washington, the first president of the United States, and draped it in a burning American flag. "Thursday marked the 21st day of protests in Portland sparked by the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police," KOIN reported. "Two groups — Rose City Justice and Lavender Caucus — hosted a sit-in rally at Jefferson High School in the evening where community members shared their experiences with racism to a crowd of a few hundred. The group did not hold a march."
According to the outlet, a separate group of about 20 people gathered at the site of a large bronze statue of George Washington at NE Sandy Boulevard and NE 57th Avenue around 10 pm. "Some wrapped the statue’s head in an American flag and lit the flag on fire," KOIN reported. "Their numbers grew over the next hour until there were enough people to pull the statue to the ground. They quickly scattered. A KOIN 6 News crew found the statue face down and covered in graffiti." Portland law enforcement arrived at the scene shortly after.
The George Washington statue in the Hollywood District of NE Portland is the latest one to be vandalized. The statue and sidewalk have been graffitied. @KGWNews #GeorgeWashington #vandalism pic.twitter.com/RIxe9s2utL— Eric Patterson (@KGWphotog) June 19, 2020
As reported by Breitbart, the historical monument was defaced and destroyed, with its base covered in phrases such as “Murder,” “Big Floyd,” “1619,” “Fuck Cops,” “BLM,” “Land Back,” “White Fragility,” and “You’re on Native Land.”
This came just days after a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the United States’ third president and author of the Declaration of Independence, was defaced and taken down outside a Portland high school on Sunday. Oregon Live obtained photos that showed the base of that monument spray-painted with the terms "slave owner" and "George Floyd."
According to the outlet, the statue at Jefferson High School was yanked down after a protest organized by Rose City Justice. “There’s an interesting piece of history up here… Mr. Thomas is all beside himself,” one protester said of the statue being toppled, per Breitbart.
“We’re taking this city back,” the organizer added. “One school at a time. One racist statue at a time.”
Several historical monuments across the country have been targeted in the wake of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day. Just last week, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi sought the removal of 11 Confederate statues from the Capitol, including that of Confederacy president Jefferson Davis. She dismissed the statues as “monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end.”
Pelosi's demands came as violent rioters across the nation exploited peaceful protests in the wake of George Floyd's death and vandalized a series of statues and monuments memorializing the Civil War era and beyond. “As I have said before, the halls of Congress are the very heart of our democracy. The statues in the Capitol should embody our highest ideals as Americans, expressing who we are and who we aspire to be as a nation,” she wrote in her June 11 letter to Committee Chair Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Vice-Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-CA).
“Monuments to men who advocated cruelty and barbarism to achieve such a plainly racist end are a grotesque affront to these ideals,” she added. “Their statues pay homage to hate, not heritage. They must be removed.”