Police Investigate Vandalism of Oakland Breonna Taylor Sculpture

Save Article

Failed to save article

Please try again

A vandalized bust of Breonna Taylor in downtown Oakland.
A vandalized bust of Breonna Taylor in downtown Oakland. (Erin Baldassari/KQED)

This story has been updated.

A sculpted bust of Breonna Taylor in downtown Oakland lay in pieces Saturday, apparently vandalized just two weeks after it was first installed.

The bust's sculptor, Leo Carson, told KQED that the sculpture was created to support Black lives.

"This vandalism is an act of racist aggression, and it shows why sculpture and art matters," he said. "I made this sculpture to support the Black Lives Matter movement, and while I'm overcome with rage and sadness at their cowardly act, their vandalism will make her even more potent."

It is not immediately clear who, or how, the bust was broken. The Oakland Police Department told KQED they are "aware of the incident regarding the vandalism of a bust honoring Breonna Taylor." A police report has been filed and the incident is under investigation.

A report of the statue's vandalism has been filed with the Oakland Police Department and the incident is currently under investigation.
A report of the statue's vandalism has been filed with the Oakland Police Department and the incident is currently under investigation. (Erin Baldassari/KQED)

The vandalism was first reported by local news outlet The Oaklandside.

Sponsored

Protests erupted across the nation in mid-2020 in the name of George Floyd and Taylor, who both were killed by police. Oaklanders also made their voices heard in anger, in pain, and often with art — from poetry and music to the bust installed on Dec. 12.

Officers shot Taylor, an emergency medical worker, multiple times after they entered her Louisville, Kentucky home using a "no-knock" warrant in a botched drug raid in March. The warrant used to search her home was connected to a suspect who did not live there, and no drugs were found inside.

As of Monday afternoon, a GoFundMe campaign to repair the statue nearly doubled its $5,000 fundraising goal.
As of Monday afternoon, a GoFundMe campaign to repair the statue nearly doubled its $5,000 fundraising goal. (Erin Baldassari/KQED)

In September, grand jurors brought only one indictment against an officer for the reckless use of a gun. Brett Hankison, who has since been dismissed from the force, was charged with three counts of "wanton endangerment" for firing into Taylor’s neighbors’ apartment.

The two other officers whose bullets hit Taylor were not charged.

That news brought renewed action in Oakland. During a rally in front of an Oakland mural honoring Taylor at 15th Street and Broadway, Cat Brooks, one of the event’s organizers and co-founder of the Anti Police-Terror Project, spoke to the crowd.

“Breonna Taylor did not die in a vacuum. She died inside of a paradigm in this country where the lives of Black women and girls do not matter,” Brooks said.

Carson hosted a GoFundMe fundraiser to rebuild Taylor's sculpture in bronze "to prevent further damage."

"As an unemployed server, this isn't something I can afford to do on my own," Carson explained in the post.

Donations, to date, have well surpassed the $5,000 fundraising goal. Leftover funds will be donated to Taylor's family, according to Carson.

This story was updated Sunday morning at 11:19 a.m. to reflect a new comment from the Oakland Police Department, and on Monday afternoon at 12:45 p.m. to include the GoFundMe sculpture repairs fundraiser.