WATERBURY, CT (WFSB) -- Following protests this past week surrounding a Christopher Columbus statue in Waterbury, residents woke up Saturday morning to see it having been beheaded.
An eyewitness shared images of the statue Saturday morning with Channel 3, however it is unclear when the vandalism actually happened.
Waterbury police said they are investigating a criminal mischief complaint involving the Columbus statue. They said this is an open investigation.
Waterbury Mayor Neil O'Leary released a statement on the incident Saturday evening:
“I am deeply disappointed and disturbed by the destruction inflicted upon the Christopher Columbus statue today. The City of Waterbury, and I as Mayor, are deeply committed to taking action to address the impact and inequities caused by systemic racism. However, this type of behavior is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”
The statue stands outside Waterbury City Hall on Grand Street, and has been a focal point of protesters looking to have it removed this past week.
On the other side, there are folks who want to see the statue stay, saying Christopher Columbus represents Italian heritage and their contributions to the country. They also said this past week that they support Black Lives Matter movement, but they want to work together to come up with another solution.
One part of a petition that is circulating calls for the statue to be put into a museum.
Protesters looking to remove the statue are also calling for the city to recognize Indigenous Peoples' Day. They want to have an open forum with city leaders about the holiday.
Anyone with information on the vandalism should call Waterbury police at (203) 574-6941 or Crime Stoppers at (203)755-1234.