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George Floyd mural at Minneapolis intersection where he died defaced

Data shows troubling racial gap in policing
Data shows troubling racial gap in policing 05:17

The famous mural painted at the Minneapolis intersection where George Floyd was killed was covered with a tarp Wednesday night after being defaced, CBS Minnesota reports. A witness said a vandal went to the intersection earlier this week and sprayed black paint over Floyd's eyes and face.

Residents chased him out of the area and were trying to find artists to restore the mural, CBS Minnesota says.

The intersection has become a memorial to Floyd and others killed at the hands of police. The city wants to figure out how to reopen it to help stabilize the community.

A Minneapolis police spokesman says the department hasn't taken any reports about the vandalized mural, however, according to the StarTribune.

Other Floyd murals around the country have reportedly been defaced, including in Rochester, Minnesota; Long Beach, California; and Portland, Oregon.

The StarTribune said the mural was vandalized even though volunteers keep careful watch over it.

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George Floyd mural at Minneapolis intersection where he died is covered by tarp on August 20, 2020 after being defaced days earlier. WCCO-TV

The newspaper quotes the memorial's lead caretaker, Jeanelle Austin as saying, "We will not allow something like this to distract us from our greater goal."

Austin told the StarTribune a man wearing a hoodie walked up to the mural on the side of Cup Foods late Tuesday night and sprayed paint on it. Surveillance video from the food store captured it.

The StarTribune cites a local online news site, the Minneapolis Reformer, as saying the man told it he was drunk and didn't realize what he was doing. He also claimed he didn't realize what he was doing -- but didn't remember what happened.

Minneapolis Police Death
Malaysia Hammond, 19, places flowers at a memorial mural for George Floyd at the corner of Chicago Avenue and 38th Street, on May 31, 2020, in Minneapolis.  John Minchillo / AP

The man, a medical student, told the Reformer, "This is definitely a turning point for me. I was absolutely disgusted because that's not at all representative of who I am or who I strive to be."

He said he'll pay for repairs to the mural and "anything else" and would work  with the community to make up for what he did.

"He caused harm to the community," Austin remarked to the StarTribune. "He needs to be held responsible and take ownership of that. That has to happen."

Floyd, who was Black, died on Memorial Day after four Minneapolis police officers arrested him for allegedly trying to use a counterfeit $20 bill at the food market. The officers held him down on his stomach in the street while he was handcuffed. A white officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly eight minutes even as Floyd said he could not breathe.

His death sparked global protests against racism and police brutality.

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