A sculpted bust of Breonna Taylor installed two weeks ago in downtown Oakland was vandalized Saturday, police say. 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 unclear how the bust was broken or the people behind the incident. The police say a report was filed and they are currently investigating the vandalism.
Taylor was with her boyfriend Kenneth Walker when she was shot by three Louisville police officers who broke into her apartment in the name of executing a no-knock search warrant in a narcotics investigation in March. The police believed that Taylor’s ex-boyfriend Jamarcus Glover was keeping drugs and money in her apartment, but there were no drugs or money in her apartment, the police found. Her name has since been trending as many support the cause to seek justice for the Black first responder.
The three officers who fired the shots – Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison and Myles Cosgrove – were not charged in Taylor’s death by a grand jury on September 23. Only Hankison, who was fired in the aftermath of the incident, was indicted on three counts of wanton endangerment in the first degree for firing into the apartments of Taylor’s neighbors. Following Taylor’s death and the killing of unarmed Black man George Floyd, protests erupted across the U.S. in mid-2020 against police brutality and racial injustice.
In Oakland, Carson, who lost his job as a server during the pandemic, joined the protests but he wanted to do more than that. On December 12, his ceramic bust of Taylor was displayed in downtown Oakland with the phrase “Say Her Name Breonna Taylor.” Now broken into pieces, Carson believes that the act is an attack on Taylor and the Black Lives Matter movement.
“At first I was stunned and shocked and hurt and angry,” Carson, who has plans of repairing the sculpture as soon as possible, told ABC7. “Just a whole flood of emotions. It felt like I was personally attacked and also they attacked Breonna Taylor and the BLM movement.”
Carson however said he has plans of repairing the sculpture and casting it in bronze. Representatives from Cotchett, Pitre and McCarthy Law Firm have also promised to donate $5,000 to cover the cost.