The statue of the famed explorer in Christopher Columbus Park in the city’s North End was found with its head lying on the ground early Wednesday morning.
Police responded to a call about the statue at 12:30 a.m., a department spokesperson told HuffPost. There have been no arrests, and the investigation is “active and ongoing,” the spokesperson said.
It’s not the first time the Columbus statue has been beheaded: It was also vandalized and later restored in 2006.
In June 2015, the statue was covered in red paint and spray-painted with the words “Black Lives Matter.”
Boston Mayor Marty Walsh addressed the vandalism on Wednesday. The city is “going to be taking the statue down this morning and putting it into storage to assess the damage of the statue,” he told a news conference.
Walsh added that the city doesn’t condone the vandalism but that in light of the repeated attacks, the city will take “time to assess the historic meaning of the statue.”
Columbus has long been a contentious figure in history. Native American advocates have pushed since the early 1990s to change Columbus Day to Indigenous Peoples Day in response to Columbus’ being responsible for helping perpetuate centuries of genocide against Indigenous populations in the Americas.
Also on Wednesday, a separate Columbus statue was thrown into a lake in Richmond, Virginia.
The recent statue vandalism comes on the heels of protests against racism and police brutality erupting around the country. The protests have also prompted a resurgence in vitriol against the roughly 1,700 Confederate monuments and symbols still standing nationwide.
Also last month, statues of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Jefferson Davis and Gen. J.E.B. Stuart in Richmond, Virginia, were all graffiti-bombed. Confederate Defenders statues in Charleston, South Carolina, were spray-painted with “BLM” (Black Lives Matter) and “traitors.”
The movement to remove statues of racist historical figures appears to be gaining strength. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) signed a law in April that allows “localities to remove many of the more than 200 Confederate memorials and symbols still standing across the state.” Virginia is the state with the most Confederate monuments.
“I anticipate that in the next six months or a year, we’ll see them come down all over Virginia,” W. Fitzhugh Brundage, a history professor at the University of North Carolina, told HuffPost’s Travis Waldron earlier this week.
“That’s the most significant Confederate commemorative landscape in the South. The tipping point has been reached,” he said.