BOSTON (CBS) – The Christopher Columbus statue in Boston’s North End will be removed after it was beheaded early Wednesday morning. Mayor Marty Walsh said it will be put in storage and there will now be conversations about the “historic meaning” of the incident and whether it will ever go back up.

The statue in Christopher Columbus Park on Atlantic Avenue was surrounded by crime scene tape as the head lay on the ground next to the base.

The Christopher Columbus statue in the North End was beheaded, June 10, 2020. (WBZ-TV)

Columbus was one of the first Europeans in the New World, credited by many for discovering America. However, critics say his trip began the trans-Atlantic slave trade. Columbus is also criticized for his violent treatment and killing of Native Americans, who see him as a racist.

Now, as police investigate how it happened, local indigenous groups are calling on the mayor to remove the statue for good.

“It’s a park dedicated to white supremacy,” said Mahtowin Munro of the United American Indians of New England. “It’s a park dedicated to indigenous genocide.”

There has been a push across the country to get rid of the Columbus Day holiday in October and replace it with Indigenous Peoples Day.

The Christopher Columbus statue in the North End was beheaded, June 10, 2020. (WBZ-TV)

This statue has been the target of vandals in the past.

The head was also cut off back in 2006. The statue was doused with red paint in June 2015 with the words “Black Lives Matter” spray-painted on the base.

The Christopher Columbus statue was vandalized in June 2015. (Photo credit: NorthEndWaterfront.com)

“We’ve been asking for years that this statue come down and that Columbus no longer be celebrated,” Mahtowin Munro said. “The messaging is clear, with the statue here, that this is an area where white people are welcome but where our people are not welcome.”

When asked Wednesday if the statue will be returned to the park, the mayor said, “We’re going to have conversations at some point.”

“We are going to be taking the statue down this morning and putting it into storage to assess the damage to the statue,” Walsh said. “That said, this particular statue has been subject to repeated vandalism here in Boston, and given the conversations that we’re certainly having right now in our city of Boston and throughout the country, we’re also going to take time to assess the historic meaning of this action.”

In Richmond, Virginia Tuesday night, protesters tore down a Columbus statue and threw it into a lake. This comes amid a new push to take down controversial statues across the country and overseas.

“Hopefully it settles down and becomes more peaceful. I thought that it was for a little while but clearly there’s a few individuals that have to make a point even further,” North End resident Meghan Lee told WBZ-TV. “You can understand people’s frustration and being upset and where it’s coming from but unfortunately sometimes it gets carried away and things like this happen.”

“I don’t want to cover up the good, the bad, the part of history that he was, but you don’t want to idolize the bad pieces,” said resident Jessica Towns.

A statue of Christopher Columbus was beheaded on June 10, 2020 in Boston, (Photo by Tim Bradbury/Getty Images)

If you have any information about the Boston incident, please call Boston Police.

Comments (52)
  1. Nicholas Altenberg says:

    This has got to stop; it wasn’t an act of “vandalism”, it was a political statement. Communists and the Taliban do the same kind of thing.

    1. Somebody’s going to swim into the ocean and retrieve that statue and put it up on Ebay for millions of dollars. Right now, it’s a collector’s item.

    2. This whole idea of building statues to people from history and displaying them publically is an idea from the past. So many of them are weighted with controversy that will never go away and we need to stop pretending that this will all stop soon. We’ve seen statues of Lenin, Marx, Saddam Hussein, Robert E. Lee, and Columbus come and go- this is modern life. If you need a statue to remember history, then YOU have a problem. Let this statues be displayed privately by anyone who wants to see them and make sure the proper context about the individual is available so it’s a balanced experience. By next Indigenous Peoples Day, progress should be accelerated.

      1. JOHN J DUMAS says:

        We all obviously need more than Auschwitz to remember history. An eye for an eye leaves everyone blind.

  2. jdheavey says:

    The KKK opposed the creation of Columbus Day holiday and statues honoring the Italian explorer because of their anti-catholic hate. Great job BLM! You have achieved a KKK goal!

  3. Jack says:

    If confederate statues are removed, so should the ones of invader rapists, thieves and disease spreaders.

  4. Rhiannon says:

    The whole of the US is a crime scene, built on land theft, genocide and slavery. The clowns whining about the statue and ignoring yanqui history are the same ones whining about target getting looted and not how cops murder Black people.

    1. jm says:

      Black slaves should be freed and safely returned home to Africa. US land should be given back to Indians. Mexicans should go back to Mexico. Europeans need to be repatriated back to Europe and Middle Eastern and African invaders should be all transferred to their countries. Safely. of course, millions of Asians must go back to East. this is how you set everyone free and return lands to their lawful owners

    2. jm says:

      call: hello, i have information about the Boston incident.
      911: shove it wherever you please. we have been defunded and dismantled.
      call: wait.. what if i am being robbed, who do i call to?
      911: too late…

  5. Henna Roy says:

    Protect ya neck!

  6. Keith says:

    “If you have any information about the Boston incident, please call Boston Police.” when will journalists tire of licking boots? police literally beat and arrest you in the streets and you still shill (well maybe you’re white, or maybe you’re a stenographer for power, in that case there’s no contradiction)

  7. Richard DePaulo, of Braintree Massachusetts says:

    ♦️“We honor the skilled navigator and man of faith, whose courageous feat brought together continents and has inspired countless others to pursue their dreams and convictions — even in the face of extreme doubt and tremendous adversity,” Mr. Trump said. “We also take this opportunity to reaffirm our close ties to Columbus’s country of birth, Italy. Italy is a strong ally and a valued partner in promoting peace and promoting prosperity around the world.”
    🔹As Columbus Day and Thanksgiving day approach. Often statements are made of the diseases once thought that they brought here impacting the indigenous people. Now some are stating they were here anyways as such destroying Christopher Columbus statues all across the country, and removal of the Thanksgiving Day Holiday from other cities, towns, counties and states as well as erasing it from the Massachusetts State School calendars and history class for the elementary school children all across America as well as the youngest of children having school text books disposed of are inappropriate reactions and not needed :
    The long-held idea that Europeans were the first to bring tuberculosis to the Americas when they arrived in the 15th Century has been thrown into doubt.
    🔹Although it could be true they brought some of them. It may also be true in the inverse that they did not do so:
    🔹Scientists have unearthed three ancient Peruvian skeletons that contain DNA from strains of TB. These 1,000-year-old remains predate the Europeans’ arrival by about 500 years.
    🔹https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28871719…
    🐠https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-28871719…
    ♦️Meanwhile, there is survey confirming that a majority of Americans agree that Columbus Day is OK.
    “Almost 6 in 10 Americans (57 percent) believe that celebrating Columbus Day is a ‘good idea,’ while only 29 percent oppose the holiday,” notes a new Marist Poll. “An overwhelming majority of Americans (76 percent) believe that Columbus and other historical figures should be judged by the standards of conduct of their own lifetimes, as opposed to modern standards. Only 16 percent disagree,” the poll said, noting that 56 percent favor Columbus and 28 percent don’t.
    👮🏻‍♂️ Sadly a lynch mob tried to steal history away from all ~ this occurred durring the unruly rioting mob violence.
    👮🏻‍♀️ It underscores and highlights why we need to support our police and fund them so as to discourage this rather than defunding them as some on the city of Boston Council have proposed to do. — thinking about Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park at Colombus Park North End Boston.

  8. M.R. says:

    Police? You kid.

  9. Lauren says:

    I cannot believe you are encouraging people to call the Boston Police with any information. The entire point of these protests is police violence and systemic racism. Journalists have routinely been attacked, tear gassed, shot with rubber bullets, and arrested by police during these protests. A statue of a controversial and racist figure – who we don’t even celebrate anymore in MA – is not as important as the lives and safety of Black Americans, journalists, and protesters.

  10. Barfolomew says:

    so his head was “discovered” by someone, what’s the big deal?

  11. Wickedasitseems! says:

    They’ll probably replace it with a George Floyd statue….another great American!

  12. ed says:

    AS I sit and watch this violent rioting and vandalism, it just makes me not care about their cause. I now hate the BLM “movement” and everything it stands for. Mice work.

    1. thompson says:

      do you support police then? they have been the most violent organized group for years and are escalating the peaceful protests in riots. seems like you’re just racist.

    2. I take issue with white people telling Black people how to protest. MLK, Jr. protested peacefully and we murdered him anyway. We created COINTELPRO.Google it. We complained when Kaep peacefully took a knee. Petitions don’t work and policies have failed. Policies that were set up to inflict pain and keep people from advancing.

      If the path to racial justice involves burning it down, so be it. The narrative shouldn’t be… It’s a shame that a Black man died, but you can’t go destroying property. It should be… It’s a shame that some property was destroyed, but we can’t keep killing Black people like this.

      You want exampes of white protests? There has never been a successful non-violent protest where power was seded. The American Revolution. Tea Party, anyone? The Confederacy. The Reconstruction era effort to disenfranchise Black voters. The Red Summer of 1919. Rosewood. None of this was non-violent.

      Throughout our history, Black people have been firebombed, beaten, dragged, stabbed, shot, slaughtered, lynched, dismembered and burned alive. And this was after their ancestors were held as chattle. They survived that and built their own communities of wealth (see Tulsa) only to see white people burn it all to the ground.

      So, please top saying the sanctimony and educate yourself.

  13. John says:

    Soon the concept of history will be gone. Nobody ever has had a perfect life. Nobody will ever know about anybody.

  14. JG says:

    LOL… all you “Nobody’s perfect” people… Ya’ll need to go learn some actual history, and not that white-washed BS they taught you in the 3rd grade… May as well have a statue to Hitler, and that’s not a casual/hyperbolic comparison. Columbus wasn’t just a guy with a few flaws; he was a monster.

    1. JOHN J DUMAS says:

      Then we should put all the statues of MLK and Massasoit near me should also be hidden in museums. Just tell your facts nearby. I want people to know what Jackson did to Eastern Native Americans. You do not do that by blackwashing.

    2. JOHN J DUMAS says:

      There are many monuments to Hitler’s deeds they are needed so people will not forget. The whole truth is the only truth. These sites are needed to serve as bad examples. The world obviously needs more than Auschwitz to stop evil.

  15. Monuments to Thieves says:

    If you’re more outraged about damage to a monument to racism than actual racism, I don’t know what to say to you. You’re a lost cause.

    To all the “this erases history” hand-wringers: you’re wrong and you know it, so you resort to this inane argument. The only history you want to preserve is the whitewashed version that doesn’t force you to wrestle with the legacy of murder and exploitation this country is built on.

  16. Dan Wells says:

    Maybe not the best way to go about it, but it was time to remove it anyway. He was a great navigator, whoopee. How about a statue to honor the indigenous people of Hispaniola whom he slaughtered?

  17. Pam says:

    How about teaching moral behavior in schools. They really want this kind of behavior in MA, in Mn, in the US///

  18. dort rice says:

    i just like how it looks kinda freaky without a head

  19. CA says:

    Seeing this headline made me proud of my hometown! The coverage by WBZ, not so much. And Meghan Lee, if you’re reading this: from one white woman to another, we’ve got a lot of learning and work to do. I don’t want things to calm down – until they change. Please join me in reading up on the history of Columbus (FYI you’ll be reading about rape), as well as some of the great resources circulating right now about what we can do to be anti-racist white people in this time of beautiful uprising.

  20. Frank DeLorey says:

    How brave Marty…let vandals get what they want….who says crime doesn’t pay?

  21. A.A.W. says:

    Great! Let’s see the park renamed, too. To those saying they don’t want to see history disappear: you’re right! We should teach the FULL history of Columbus and the atrocities he committed in schools, rather than putting up a statue to him, though. You put up statues to honor people, and he doesn’t deserve to be honored. Maybe we can replace the statue with one honoring the native peoples who lived here before the ancestors of all us white folks stole their land, and whose numbers and presence in the area been so decimated in modern times as a result of their ancestors’ contact with white settlers and continuing racism.

  22. Женя Плаксиенко says:

    Shamefull behavior of thugs and bigots!!!!!

    1. коммунисты и талибан делали это. Теперь здесь!!

  23. sissy says:

    I want to form a group called STOP. Stop the insanity. Preserve our heritage. Who wants to join? We should have millions who agree.

    1. Morgan O'Rourke says:

      Agree!

  24. online user says:

    BLM and this entire protest movement could burn in hell for all I care.

  25. Christopher Columbus says:

    From a letter I wrote to Doña Juana de la Torre about the girls my settlers were selling into sexual slavery:

    “There are plenty of dealers who go about looking for girls; those from 9 to 10 are now in demand, and for all ages a good price must be paid.”

  26. Christopher Columbus says:

    My travels in Hispaniola were so notorious, an estimated 50,000 natives killed themselves:

    “The Indians destroyed their stores of bread so that neither they nor the invaders would be able to eat it. They plunged off cliffs, they poisoned themselves with roots, and they starved themselves to death. Oppressed by the impossible requirement to deliver tributes of gold, the Indians were no longer able to tend their fields, or care for their sick, children, and elderly. They had given up and committed mass suicide to avoid being killed or captured by Christians, and to avoid sharing their land with them, their fields, groves, beaches, forests, and women: the future of their people.”

  27. Christopher Columbus says:

    Michele de Cuneo, one of my crew from the second expedition, recalling a gift I gave him:

    “While I was in the boat, I captured a very beautiful woman, whom the Lord Admiral [Columbus] gave to me. When I had taken her to my cabin she was naked — as was their custom. I was filled with a desire to take my pleasure with her and attempted to satisfy my desire. She was unwilling, and so treated me with her nails that I wished I had never begun. I then took a piece of rope and whipped her soundly, and she let forth such incredible screams that you would not have believed your ears. Eventually we came to such terms, I assure you, that you would have thought she had been brought up in a school for wh***s.”

  28. Christopher Columbus says:

    My conquest of Hispaniola was so successful that the estimated native population population of 300,000 at the time of our arrival in 1942 was a mere 500 by 1548.

    Many of the natives fled to the mountains in the early years. Those we couldn’t kill, we sent dogs after.

  29. Chico says:

    About time! All he did was start the European Invasion and mass killings of our Naive peoples of the Continent!

  30. Cate says:

    It must be exhausting for those who believe that anyone who disagrees with them in the slightest is evil and racist. What a horrible way to live.

  31. Endre Lehoczki says:

    Now tell me, is this not like the Chinese Mao Zedong communist cultural revolution of the 1960’s?

  32. Molon Labe says:

    This is all because of left wing progressive liberal radicals that run the states and influence the institutions! They are solely responsible for these types of behaviors !

    They created this Anti-American movement. With weaponizing social media to brainwash the easily influenced to their radical progressive type of Mob mentality!
    Like children running wild allowed to have temper tantrums unchecked with no consequences!
    No law and order and “defund the police”. If you don’t agree with them , you are a “racist” and a “fascist”. Any name they can call to try and bully you into submission.

    This is what You get only when You let these “Bullies”* get away with it because our liberal progressive leaders are just too weak to stand up!* (bullies are also so, so weak)

    *(bul·ly1
    /ˈbo͝olē/
    Learn to pronounce
    See definitions in:
    noun
    a person who habitually seeks to harm or intimidate those whom they perceive as vulnerable.)

    Radical Antifa like groups want to censor all that oppose their radical views/beliefs and justify their brainwashed group think actions/behaviors no matter how destructive or violent they become!
    They exclusively only agree with similar minded and want to force their own views (hate speech) upon others and shame those who respectfully disagree. They go unchallenged by the weak progressive left wing liberal leaders and the media , that’s how they are getting away with it.

    If this goes unchecked and challenged they will do everything they can to censor, shame, and bully those who oppose their radical “Anti American” rhetoric!

    Not only will they suppress Your own opinions, views and beliefs , and censor your free speech but will pursue to take away All of Your amendments and American given rights!
    They would love to void the constitution that this country was founded and flourished on In brainwashed attempt to try to create their own liberal progressive radical state!

    They only agree with their own Political Philosophies , Movements and Regime and Force Suppression to their opposition!*

    *(fas·​cism | \ ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm also ˈfa-ˌsi- \
    Definition of fascism
    1often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition)

  33. JOHN J DUMAS says:

    Columbus should criticized for his violent treatment and killing of Native Americans. However, this will not happen if history is blackwashed. This is an opportunity to state the facts in a further display nearby. Please do not rename the park after MLK smile and forget the whole thing.

  34. I wish the author had explained “how” the statue was beheaded. It’s good that we are removing these racist symbols, but let’s just admit that is not very easy to behead a statue, and this new written piece really should have covered these details because I’m very curious about it.

  35. Travis says:

    Statues are not History, they are monuments (usually on pedestals) to a person or their deeds/Actions, they belong in Museums… if the removal of a racist’s statue so drastically affects your life you may be a) a Racist or b) a Pigeon

  36. B. Savini says:

    Replace him with Sacco and Vanzetti. Boston owes them a place of honor.

  37. Nina Franco says:

    Somewhat appropriate. If you read Columbus’s logs, one of the ways his men used to amuse themselves was to throw native infants into the air and then try to see if they could cut them completely in half before they hit the ground.

  38. Charles says:

    It’s hard to imagine anything more racist than protesting the coming of Latinos to the Americas. And yet these people insist they’re anti-racist.

    1. JOHN J DUMAS says:

      They are protesting the vanguard of oppression. Since diminishing a narrative is near impossible and usually invites opposition, the way forward is to disseminate your own narrative. A statue of a fleeing people being set upon by military attack dogs may tell your own side of the story.

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