Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan on Sunday urged Baltimore city leaders to regain control of their own streets after rioters toppled a statue of Christopher Columbus in the city over the weekend.
“While we welcome peaceful protests and constructive dialogue on whether and how to put certain monuments in context or move them to museums or storage through a legal process, lawlessness, vandalism, and destruction of public property and completely unacceptable,” Hogan, a Republican, said in a statement.
“This is the antithesis of democracy and should be condemned by everyone, regardless of their politics,” he added. “Baltimore City leaders need to regain control of their own streets and immediately start making them safer.”
Today I issued the following statement on events in Baltimore City. City leaders need to regain control of their own streets and immediately start making them safer. pic.twitter.com/lnCAxjKvAG
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) July 5, 2020
Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from The Epoch Times.
Lester Davis, a spokesperson for Young, pushed aside Hogan’s criticism, saying it is “not productive and not helpful” in a statement obtained by The Baltimore Sun.
Violent demonstrators used ropes to topple the Christopher Columbus monument on Saturday night near the Little Italy neighborhood before throwing it in the city’s Inner Harbor. The statue was owned by the city and dedicated in 1984 by former Mayor William Donald Schaefer and former President Ronald Reagan.
Davis told The Sun the toppling of the statue is a part of a national and global reexamination over monuments “that may represent different things to different people.”
“We understand the dynamics that are playing out in Baltimore are part of a national narrative,” he said.
Rioters have taken advantage of protests triggered by the death of George Floyd, a black man who died in Minneapolis police custody on Memorial Day, and have called for the removal of statues of Columbus, Confederate figures, and others.
Statues of Columbus have also been toppled or vandalized in cities across the country, including in Miami, Florida; Richmond, Virginia; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Boston, Massachusetts, where rioters removed the statue’s head.
And in Rochester, New York, a statue of black abolitionist Frederick Douglass was torn down over the weekend.
President Donald Trump signed an executive order to protect monuments, memorials, and statues on June 26. And in another executive order on July 3, he announced that his administration will build and rebuild monuments to honor American heroes, including Douglass.
Willful destruction of federal property can be penalized up to 10 years in jail, he said in the June 26 executive order.
The Associated Press contributed to the report.