A mural in Houston dedicated to George Floyd was vandalized with a racial slur on Thursday night (April 22), days after Derek Chauvin was found guilty for his murder. The words “niggers lives don’t matter” were found on the painting, which is featured at the Houston Graffiti Building tourist attraction in the city’s downtown area.
During a recent press conference, Houston Police Chief Troy Finner addressed the mural, attributing the vandalism to ”some knucklehead.”
“I don’t know what their motivation is, if it’s hate or whatever,” he said, adding, “Let me tell you something, and I want everybody to understand – ignorant people with bad hearts and bad motivations, do not give them the power.”
According to KRPC, police are checking surveillance videos and looking for witnesses to interview amid their investigation into the incident. In the interim, the mural was restored by artist Daniel Anguilu, who was dismayed by the occurrence.
“As a human, it’s just wrong to do something like that,” he told reporters of his tribute to Floyd. “My intention with this mural and with a group of friends when we painted it was of support, first, but also to help our communities heal from some of the issues that we’re facing,” he said. “So, it’s a reminder that we just have to keep working.”
The mural — which features Floyd’s face with the words “I can’t breathe” was created last year after the viral video of his tragic killing made its way around the internet. The destruction, according to Anguilu, marks the third time the painting has been defaced since its creation. The words “KKK” were previously written over Floyd’s face.
“We really wanted people to have a place where they could begin the healing process,” said the artist. “At the time when we painted it, all we knew was a person was killed from our community. We knew that people were hurting from it.”
The vandalism of the George Floyd mural in Houston comes on the heels of Chauvin’s guilty verdict. He is currently at the Minnesota Correctional Facility-Oak Park Heights where he awaits sentencing for second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.