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Statue Of Controversial Dr. J. Marion Sims Vandalized With Spray-Paint

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) -- A controversial Central Park statue of a doctor who operated on enslaved women has been defaced by a vandal with spray-paint.

As WCBS 880's Myles Miller reported, police said vandals spray-painted the word "racist" back of the statue of Dr. J. Marion Sims on Fifth Avenue at 103rd Street, and also covered the eyes and neck in spray-paint.

As of Sunday afternoon, most of the paint had been cleaned off and a metal barrier had been mounted in front of the statue.

J.J. Johnson grew up in Harlem. He said just like the Confederate monuments, the Sims statue must be removed.

"They're monuments to racism and oppression," he told 1010 WINS' Carol D'Auria.

Another man, Israel, saw the statue and said it is history and should be left alone.

"We don't know what the circumstances were when they put up the statue, so we have a lot more things to be busy with than taking off statues right now," he said.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the statue is one of several being reviewed by a city commission for possible removal.

City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito called for the removal of the statue because Sims, who has been hailed as the father of modern gynecology, allegedly performed operations on slaves without getting their consent or giving them anesthesia.

"Under the guise of medical advancement, they were probed, they were tortured and they were dehumanized," Mark-Viverito said.

The monument came under scrutiny following the deadly white nationalists' rally in Charlottesville, Virginia this month.

The Mayor's office has been putting together a panel of experts who will determine the criteria for what monuments will come down, though the city has already decided a granite marker with the name of a Nazi collaborator will be stripped from Lower Broadway.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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