OAKLAND (CBS SF) — Oakland police are investigating an act of vandalism that left a ceramic bust of Breonna Taylor severely damaged and a community outraged.
The bust was installed two weeks ago in Latham Square near City Hall by Leo Carson, a sculptor who was working as a food server before the COVID-19 crisis caused restrictions to the restaurant industry.
“Looks like they hit it with a baseball bat along the back,” said Carson, who does not believe the vandalism was random. He said 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 said. “And I think that it was an act of racism and an act of aggression and intimidation.”
Breonna Taylor was a Kentucky woman killed during a police raid. “Say her name, Breonna Taylor” has become a civil rights call for justice.
In a statement, the Oakland police said it was aware of the crime.
“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 said he will rebuild the bust, and has started a GoFundMe page to raise money to recast the statue in bronze. By Sunday afternoon, the GoFundMe page had raised $3,370 from 73 donors, giving between $10 and $200 each.
“I hope that it will inspire solidarity and that we can rebuild this you know even stronger than it was before,” Carson said.
On Sunday night, Joe Cotchett came forwarded and said his Burlingame law firm Cotchett, Pitre & McCarthy, LLP, would fund the restoration of the damaged sculpture.
“It’s scandalous and outrageous that anybody would do such a thing,” Cotchett said, explaining the vandalization of the sculpture makes him livid, particularly because Taylor was an emergency medical worker who was shot multiple times by Louisville, Ky., police in her own home. “She was a wonderful human being … The whole situation is preposterous — first her death, and now this.”