Cops ID potential suspects in racist vandalism of Floyd statue

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The NYPD released images of four men wanted in connection with the racist vandalism of a George Floyd statue in Flatbush.

Police have identified four persons of interest in connection with the racist vandalism of the George Floyd statue at Flatbush Junction Thursday morning, and are asking for the public’s help in identifying and locating them.

The statue of Floyd, a 500-pound, six-foot-tall wooden bust of his head, was defaced June 24 with black spray paint on the head and the insignia of the white supremacist hate group Patriot Front on its pedestal. Cops deemed it a possible hate crime, and local Councilmember Farah Louis described it as a “terrorist attack.”

The four men are seen on security footage near Flatbush Avenue and Glenwood Road at about 3:40 am Thursday, wearing dark clothing, hats, large face masks, and carrying what appears to be spray paint canisters and stencils. The men were caught on security footage both before and after the incident.

The men fled on foot and remain unidentified as of Friday morning. Their whereabouts are unknown.

It’s not the first time Patriot Front graffiti has appeared on artwork commemorating Floyd, who was murdered by Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin last year, and whose death triggered a worldwide movement against police brutality. Chauvin is due to be sentenced in Minneapolis on Friday.

The bust of George Floyd at Flatbush Junction, defaced with black spray paint.Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

Another statue of Floyd was also defaced with Patriot Front graffiti in Newark, New Jersey Thursday morning. Earlier this month, the group’s insignia was seen on a vandalized mural of Floyd in Philadelphia.

Borough President and leading candidate for mayor Eric Adams called for a federal investigation into the vandalism both in Brooklyn and in Newark.

“While vandalism can be cleaned, the desecration of the George Floyd statue in Flatbush is a lasting insult to every New Yorker,” Adams said. “Just days after its unveiling on Juneteenth, and a day before the sentencing of Floyd’s murderer, this defacing that appears connected to a White supremacy hate group may have been an attempt to strike terror into our community — and it should be investigated accordingly.”

“I am calling for a Federal investigation into this incident in Brooklyn and a similarly destructive act on a statue in Newark, as well as any potential connection to the insurrection at the US Capitol this past January,” he continued. “This city must show zero tolerance against hate of every shade, no matter if it is based on race, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, or any other characteristic.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio said that the city will “bring these cowards to justice.”

“Last night a far-right extremist group vandalized a statue of George Floyd in Brooklyn,” Hizzoner tweeted Thursday. “A racist, loathsome, despicable act of hate. The City Cleanup Corps is repairing the statue right now and a hate crime investigation is underway. We will bring these cowards to justice.”

Patriot Front has been active in Brooklyn for several years. Last year, pre-pandemic, the group’s posters were found in Bay Ridge, and a banner was unfurled over a Belt Parkway overpass as part of an apparent recruiting drive. Locals rallied to send a message that the group was not welcome in the neighborhood.

If you know who these men are, contact NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-8477, or for Spanish, 1-888-57-74782. You can also tweet tips to @NYPDTips or send a tip on their website www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.