Matthew Meyer, KSWB-TV, February 24, 2019
A Christoper Columbus statue in the South Bay was found vandalized Sunday morning, with red paint splashed on the figure’s head and the word “genocide” scrawled in red spray paint along its base.
Chula Vista Police Lt. Dan Peak said they first received calls about the graffiti around noon. Peak said in addition to the paint, a “very expensive” bronze plaque that sits below the statue was stolen. He told FOX 5 the extent of the damage and value of the figure likely raised the crime to a felony-level vandalism. “We believe it happened some time over the night,” Peak added.
The statue was created in the 1990s by the sculptor Mario Zamora, according to the Smithsonian Institution’s research system.
Columbus statues have been the target of similar vandalism elsewhere in the country, with vandals appearing to make a statement about the explorer and colonist’s treatment of indigenous peoples by painting portions of his monument’s a blood-like red or spray painting phrases. Other critics have called for the end of celebrating Columbus day, a move some major cities have already made.
Others, including Italian-American groups, have said the holiday remains an important part of Italian-American heritage and that Columbus remains a highly notable historical figure worthy of recognition.