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Police Investigating Vandalism Of DuSable Bust Near Michigan Ave. Bridge

(CBS) -- Police are investigating the vandalism of a bust of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, the Haitian-born man who's credited as the founder of Chicago, reports WBBM's Steve Miller.

The sculpture on Michigan Avenue near the bridge appears to have had a mask painted over the eyes.
Charles Bethea, the chief curator at the DuSable Museum of African American History, says it looks like a dark enamel pain was used.


"It was a goodly amount of it because it started to run so it almost looks like it was tears," he said.

Bethea says the motivation is unclear whether the timing had anything to do with the observation of the Martin Luther King holiday.

The sculptor is Erik Blome. He says Chicago's Haitian community paid for the sculpture because DuSable was born in Haiti.

"To have this happen is meaningful, it is like getting punched to the face" Blome said. "I can understand that feeling, I understand what that means. As an artist it is like getting punched in the face, too."

He says he hopes they catch whoever did it.

A spokeswoman for the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events says they were alerted to the damage last Thursday and a conservator began work on restoring the bust Monday morning and expected to be finished by the end of the day.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel released a statement saying, "The Jean Baptiste DuSable statue commemorates our city's founding father, and the defacement of this treasure disrespects all Chicagoans and attacks the heritage of our heroes and the common values that they stood for – values that we stand behind as a city and that we also celebrate today by honoring Dr. Martin Luther King's legacy."

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