Eyewitnesses say a George Floyd memorial in Ohio was struck by lightning and is no more.
The Toledo structure crumbled Tuesday afternoon and while city officials say it collapsed from disrepair, eyewitnesses saw another cause.
Sterling Rahe, a spokesman for the city’s Fire and Rescue Department, told the Toledo Blade that the collapse was the result of a lightning strike, based on eyewitness accounts and inspection of the scene.
WTVG-13, the ABC affiliate in Toledo, reported that there had been a lightning strike following hours of wet weather on the block in question — the corner of Summit and Lagrange.
However, other city officials were disputing that account.
Building inspector Hugh Koogan told the Toledo Blade the collapse was natural deterioration and said he had recently noticed the middle of the wall bowing.
“It was just age. It just came away,” the inspector told the Blade.
Mr. Koogan said he also had talked to the unnamed person who saw lightning strike the building on which the Floyd mural had been painted.
The building, the site of the former Mugshots Bar, already had been condemned by the city.
The Floyd-tribute mural was painted on the building last summer and has been the site of prayer vigils and demonstrations. Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer, sparking nationwide protests against police brutality and racism, some of which turned violent.
Former Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of second-degree murder and other charges earlier this year and sentenced to more than 20 years in prison.
Whether it was a bolt from the sky or the inevitable end for a condemned building, commentators on Twitter saw the collapse of the Floyd mural as providential or politically telling.
Some of the reactions, collected by the conservative Blaze news site, included:
— “And they say God isn’t real.”
— “I’m not a religious person whatsoever, but if there was ever an event that caused me to pause, this would be it.”
— “Warning — be on the lookout for liberal logic on this: Lightning struck the mural; There is more lightning because of climate change; Republicans don’t believe in climate change; Republicans are all white racists; White racists therefore destroyed the mural.”
— “Now BLM gonna say that lightning strikes are racist, and they should check their privileges.”