Vandalism targets pair of Christopher Columbus statues

Posted: Updated:
GARFIELD -

Police are looking for the vandal or vandals who recently targeted two statues of Christopher Columbus in Bergen County.

One statue of the controversial explorer was doused in red paint at Dahnert's Lake County Park in Garfield.

A second statue about a quarter-mile away, at Columbus Field City Park, was vandalized with spray paint. That statue had been re-dedicated by the city a few months ago.

Some feel that Columbus has a legacy that symbolizes slavery and genocide. In the past few months, there have been numerous discussions around Columbus statues and monuments in parks across the tri-state area concerning whether they should be removed.

Garfield's mayor suspects the vandals are from outside of the area because he said he's never received any requests from residents to remove the monuments. He's hoping one of the many cameras throughout the parks will lead them to the perpetrator.

Garfield residents had mixed reactions to the vandalism in their area. Some said it was "ridiculous," or "trying to drive a wedge" in the town, while others said they understood the controversy surrounding the historical figure.

Resident Julio Quiles and his brother, Wilfredo, grabbed some paint remover and spent part of Sunday afternoon trying to clean up the monument. The veterans said they have nothing against freedom of speech, but felt that it was not appropriate.

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