“It looked like someone struck it with a baseball bat or something very heavy,” said artist Leo Carson as he described the conditions in which he found his work in homage to Breonna Taylor last Saturday.
The ceramic sculpture had been erected in Latham Square, Oakland, two weeks ago, accompanied by a plaque that reads “Say Her Name Breonna Taylor,” paying tribute to the 26-year-old emergency room technician shot by Louisville police at her home last March.
Along with George Floyd, Taylor’s name has become a rallying cry for those tired of systemic racism in the U.S.
According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Carson, a resident of the city of Oakland, received a warning of the vandalism on Saturday and went to the scene, finding the damaged bust.
“I was really devastated emotionally. I was sad and angry,” he said. “Really, it’s an attack on Breonna Taylor and Black Lives Matter, and it’s racist intimidation.”
An Oakland police spokeswoman said the department is “aware of the incident regarding the vandalism of a bust honoring Breonna Taylor.” A police report has been filed, and the incident is under investigation, police said.
Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf called the incident “a vicious attack against the light + justice sought in Breonna Taylor’s name” in a tweet Monday. “Oakland will not tolerate acts of hatred,” she said.
“I was a participant in the Black Lives Matter protests and inspired to put my artist skills to work,” Carson said of what inspired the artwork.
“I will be repairing it, piecing it back together as best I can, but the damage will be visible,” he said.
Carson has created a GoFundMe account to raise $5,000 to have the bust cast in bronze and said any excess funds would be donated to Taylor’s family. By late Sunday, the account had raised more than $3,700.
Attorney Joe Cotchett said he planned to donate $5,000 to replace the bust after seeing the report.
“It is incredible that someone would destroy a small memorial on a completely innocent medical assistant,” he said.
With information from The San Francisco Chronicle.