SAN ANTONIO – A Christopher Columbus statue at a downtown San Antonio park was found vandalized Thursday morning.
The discovery came just hours before and blocks away from where citizens at Thursday’s City Council meeting spoke out against honoring historical figures tied to colonialism, slavery and the Confederacy.
Photos show the statue at Columbus Park, located at 500 Columbus St., splashed with red paint. The statute’s pedestal reads, “Christopher Columbus, 1435-1506, Discoverer of the New World, 1492.”
A preliminary report from the San Antonio Police Department states officers discovered the vandalism around 4:30 a.m., and no one was in the vicinity at the time. Police said it happened sometime after 3 a.m.
The investigation remains ongoing, SAPD said.
Recent protests have refueled controversy over the statue, and District 1 Councilman Roberto Trevino has recently requested the renaming of the park and removal of the figure.
During Thursday’s meeting, Trevino addressed the vandalism and asked the statue be taken down pending a council vote. Last week, he filed a council consideration request, asking that the City Council place the item on the Governance Committee’s agenda.
He said he wants a figure in its place that “would better represent the Italian community.”
During Thursday’s City Council meeting, several people signed up to speak as council members took up a resolution that outlines the council’s priorities related to the San Antonio Police Officers Association’s collective bargaining agreement.
Citizens passionately drew attention to police brutality, racial injustice and the removal of sculptures linked to slavery and colonialism — conversations that are taking place around the nation following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other Black men and women.
In late May, someone also used red paint to deface the Alamo’s Cenotaph.