"This was an act of racist aggression," says sculptor Leo Carson

By Steve Helling
December 29, 2020 10:13 AM
Breonna Taylor
| Credit: Breonna Taylor/instagram

A ceramic bust of Breonna Taylor has been vandalized in Oakland, California, and police are searching for the person responsible.

The statue was installed two weeks ago near City Hall. The sculptor, Leo Carson, created the artwork to celebrate the life of the woman who was killed by police in a botched drug raid, even though no drugs were found in her Louisville, Ky., apartment. Her death has sparked hundreds of protests around the country.

"Looks like they hit it with a baseball bat along the back," Carson told CBS News, adding that he did not believe the vandalism was random. He told the station that he thinks it was an attack against the Black Lives Matter movement.

"I don’t think there’s a single person in Oakland who doesn’t know who Breonna Taylor is, and I don’t think you attack a sculpture like that by accident," he continued. "And I think that it was an act of racism and an act of aggression and intimidation."

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Taylor, an unarmed Black woman — an Emergency Room Technician studying to be a nurse — died March 13 when Louisville Metro Police Department officers executing a no-knock drug warrant opened fire on her apartment.

Police started shooting into the apartment after Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired off a warning shot, not knowing who was attempting to breach the apartment.

Taylor was shot eight times.

Only one of the three officers involved in the shooting is facing charges — not for killing Taylor, but for endangering her neighbors.

In a statement to the San Francisco Chronicle, the Oakland police said it was aware of the crime.

RELATED VIDEO: 1 Officer Charged, 2 Cleared in Shooting Death of Breonna Taylor, Grand Jury Decides

"The Oakland Police Department is aware of the incident regarding the vandalism of a bust honoring Breonna Taylor," the statement read. "A report has been filed and the incident is under investigation."

Carson started a GoFundMe page to raise money to recast the statue in bronze. By Tuesday morning, the page had raised more than $13,255. Carson says that any money raised that exceeds the cost of rebuilding will be donated to Breonna Taylor's family.

"After spending months creating this artwork it was incredible to see the community and neighbors taking photos and enjoying it," Carson wrote on the GoFundMe page. "Now I am devastated and enraged to see it in pieces. This was an act of racist aggression and we need to show them we will not stand for it."

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