- The Washington Times - Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A statue of Christopher Columbus that’s been on display in downtown Detroit for more than a century was found vandalized on the very federal holiday named in honor of the explorer.

On Monday, Columbus Day, it was discovered that vandals had affixed a hatchet to the head of the Columbus statue outside the Renaissance Center in Detroit and doused the monument with red paint.

Police Sgt. Cassandra Lewis told the Detroit News that authorities became aware of the incident on Monday afternoon after receiving inquiries from the media.

The ax stayed taped to Columbus’ forehead until around 4 p.m. when a member of a group called the Delta Bravo Urban Exploration Team said he thought it was disrespectful, then scaled the statue and removed it. City offices in Detroit and most of the country were closed on Monday for Columbus Day, a federal holiday in the U.S. since 1937.

Sgt. Lewis said police are investigating the act of vandalism and expect to review video footage captured by nearby surveillance cameras. Dan Austin, a spokesman for Mayor Mike Duggan’s office, told the Detroit News that the city plans on having the monument cleaned on Tuesday.

The statue was given to the city by sculptor Augusto Rivalta in 1910 and dedicated in honor of Columbus by the Italians of Detroit.

While most of the U.S. still celebrates the second Monday of October as Columbus Day, Alaska and at least nine cities across the country held Indigenous Peoples Day this year instead, in lieu of glorifying an explorer who many credit with enabling the mass genocide of Native Americans.

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