BLACK VOICES

Sculpture Honoring Breonna Taylor Smashed In Oakland

The artist who sculpted the ceramic bust called the vandalism "an act of racism." Police are investigating.

A ceramic bust of Breonna Taylor that was installed in downtown Oakland, California, earlier this month was smashed on Saturday.

The sculpture to honor Taylor, the Black 26-year-old health care worker whom Kentucky police killed in March and who became the subject of Black Lives Matter demonstrations nationwide, was apparently struck with something that caused chunks of it to break off.

“Looks like they hit it with a baseball bat along the back,” Leo Carson, the artist who sculpted the bust, told local CBS affiliate KPIX-TV.  He said he believes the vandalism was an attack on all those fighting against racism and police brutality.

“I don’t think you attack a sculpture like that by accident,” Carson said. “I think that it was an act of racism and an act of aggression and intimidation.”

It was not immediately clear who wrecked the sculpture. Oakland police are “aware of the incident,” the department told Bay Area public media outlet KQED. A police report has been filed and the department is investigating the matter.

The bust sits on a pedestal with the phrase “Say Her Name, Breonna Taylor” and is located in Latham Square near Oakland City Hall, where thousands of anti-racism activists protested over the summer in the wake of the police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Carson said he plans to rebuild the sculpture and hopes to recast it using bronze to make it sturdier. A Bay Area attorney has offered to pay for the sculpture’s reconstruction, KPIX-TV reported.