George Washington Statue Toppled, 6 Arrested

August 14, 2020 Updated: August 16, 2020

A statue of America’s first president was torn down in California late Thursday.

The statue of George Washington stood in the neighborhood of Grand Park, on Hill Street.

Six people were arrested, according to the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD).

LAPD officials said the statue “was toppled over” and “vandalized.”

Officers recovered a gas mask, laser pointer, helmet, goggles, arm protectors, and a change of clothing to conceal identity, the department said in a statement, urging anyone with information to call the LAPD’s Central Division at 213-833-3750.

Video footage and pictures on social media showed the statue lying on the ground, completely ripped down from its pedestal. One of the videos had the hashtag “BlackLivesMatter.”

The lifesize bronze figure shows Washington, a legendary Revolutionary War military leader who became the United States’ first president, in military uniform.

It is a copy of an original granite sculpture crafted by French Jean-Antoine Houdon, according to the Los Angeles Department of Arts and Culture.

The original was shipped and installed in the Virginia State Capitol after being created in Paris in 1796. With permission from the Virginia General Assembly, approximately 30 copies of the statue were made. One copy was acquired in 1933 by the Women’s Community Service, an auxiliary of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, and presented to the county on Feb. 22, 1933, the birthday of Washington.

The suspects were identified as Elizabeth Brookey of Burbank, Christopher Woodward of Los Angeles, Anna Asher of North Hollywood, Andrew Johnson of Glendale, Emma Juncosa of Losa Angeles, and Barham Lashley of North Hollywood.

It’s at least the second statue of Washington to be toppled in the wake of George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day.

Vandals in Portland tore down a Washington statue in mid-June.

Activists, some of whom are linked to the Black Lives Matter movement, have sought to take down statues and memorials they argue commemorate racist figures. Washington owned some slaves.

Correction: This article was updated with the number of people arrested.

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