A 37-year-old Manhattan man has been arrested for allegedly defacing a statue of George Floyd in Union Square Park earlier this month, police said Monday.
Michael Beals faces a single charge of criminal mischief in the vandalism, which was reported in the park's south plaza on Oct. 3. It wasn't immediately clear if he had an attorney who could comment on the allegation against him.
Authorities had been looking for a suspect since the NYPD released video showing an unidentified man on a skateboard throwing paint on the statue around 10 a.m. that day. Nearby statues of late Congressman John Lewis and Breonna Taylor, a Louisville, Kentucky, woman shot and killed by police last year, weren’t touched.
It was the second time the statue had been vandalized. It was unveiled on Juneteenth on Brooklyn's Flatbush Avenue and vandalized five days later with black paint and marked with an alleged logo of a white supremacist group.
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Members of the group that installed the statue cleaned it, and local residents and one of Floyd’s brothers gathered in July as it was readied to move to Union Square.
After the latest incident, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared the vandalism an "act of cowardice" and said she had directed the state's Hate Crimes Task Force to provide any assistance in the investigation as cops worked to find the suspect.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and other local elected officials and advocates had also condemned the act of vandalism.