NYPD video shows wanted suspects caught on camera defacing Christopher Columbus statue

The New York City Police Department on Tuesday released video showing two wanted suspects caught on camera defacing a more than a century-old Christopher Columbus statue in Central Park late last month. 

NYPD Central Park police said the footage was captured at approximately 10:14 p.m. on Feb. 26. 

Police say the unknown individuals, wanted for criminal mischief, sprayed in red paint the words “Murderer” and “Give Us Our Land Back” on the Christopher Columbus statue located inside Central Park. 

Anyone with information is asked to contact NYPD Crime Stoppers at 800-577-TIPS. 


The 1-minute-6-second clip shows one individual, dressed in all black, climbing on the side of the statue’s pedestal opposite the camera. The other, dressed in an orange coat, and wearing a green bandana and mask hiding the face, later is seen behind the metal barricades directly in front of the camera writing “murderer” in red paint. 

Fox News Digital previously obtained photos of the Columbus statue doused in red paint and the messages “murderer” and “land back” tagged on its pedestal in Central Park on Feb. 27. Asked about the incident at the time, police confirmed that matter was under investigation but said no additional information was available. 

According to the NYC Parks website, the bronze and Rockport polished granite statue was dedicated on May 12, 1892. The New Yorkers of the New York Genealogical Society commissioned Spanish sculptor Jeronimo Sunol. It was donated in commemoration of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ voyage and the discovery of the new world. 

In the wake of George Floyd’s death, statues of Columbus, as well as Confederate leaders and other monuments, have been torn down or vandalized by social justice protesters. 

Some local governments have removed statues to avoid further controversy, as activists pushed for Columbus Day, observed in October, to be converted to Indigenous People’s Day. 

They argue Columbus’ arrival in the Americas led to mass genocide.


Columbus and Confederate statues alike were similarly vandalized in the aftermath of the deadly Charlottesville, Virginia, rally in 2017, but 2020’s unrest came at a larger national scale.

In April 1492, King Ferdinand V and Queen Isabella of Spain agreed to sponsor Columbus’s proposed voyage. On Aug. 3, 1492, three modest ships, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria, set sail. 

They sighted land on Oct. 12, 1492, landing on Guanahani, an island in the Bahamas. Columbus claimed the land for the King of Spain, renaming it San Salvador. 

Believing he had reached the West Indies, Columbus called the natives “los Indios,” or Indians. The members of the expedition returned to Spain triumphantly on March 15, 1493. After receiving the title of nobility, Columbus launched a larger expedition. On Nov. 3, 1493, a fleet of 17 ships anchored near present-day Puerto Rico. 

His third and fourth voyages set sail in 1498 and 1502, according to the NYC Parks website’s description of the Central Park statue. 

“Later, when Americans looked for founder-heroes in the early years of the republic, authors like Washington Irving ‘The Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus’ (1828) documented Columbus’s story,” the city government website says. “Focusing largely on his arrival in the Americas as opposed to the colonization of the area, Irving and others enshrined Columbus as a hero. His popular reputation ever after became that of the bold, courageous adventurer who enabled American civilization, and he is memorialized here and elsewhere as such.”