At least 7 Columbus statues vandalized in NJ — Homeland Security investigates
TRENTON — The state office of Homeland Security is investigating the vandalism of at least seven Christopher Columbus statues around New Jersey, according to State Police.
A statue in Trenton's Columbus Park was the latest to be defaced with red paint. A note left at the statue in the Chambersburg section read "F--k your new world" and signed "Lovingly, NJ Anti-Fascists." The note threatened to vandalize other Columbus statues around the state, according to NJ.com
Statues were damaged in Cooper River Park in Pennsauken, Farnham Park in Camden, Columbus Park and Dahnerts Lake County Park in Garfield, the corner of Vine Street and Egg Harbor Road in Hammonton, and in Atlantic City's Columbus Park.
Hammonton Mayor Steve DiDonato told New Jersey 101.5 that a note left at the Cherry Hill statue warned the Hammonton statue was a target.
"Vandalizing monuments, whether they represent bigotry or something else, is not an appropriate course of action. Police are investigating any leads and they'll do whatever is necessary to bring those folks to account for what they did," Trenton city spokesman Michael Walker said.
Statues of the Italian explorer have come under scrutiny along with those from the Confederate-era after the violent riots in Charlottesville last summer. Groups called for the removal of statues in Long Branch and Asbury Park.
Long Branch Mayor Adam Schneider told New Jersey 101.5 in the summer that “we’re not going to start rewriting history. If you want to have a conversation about it, let’s talk about what Christopher Columbus really did. It’s a conversation I’m willing to have with someone who thinks the statue should be removed.”
The state office of Homeland Security and Preparedness did not return messages seeking comment Friday afternoon.