Vandalism of World War I memorial statue prompts New York Mayor Adams to pay his own money as recompense

NEW YORK — Mayor Eric Adams is offering $5,000 of his own money for information leading to the arrest of the man who vandalized a World War I statue Monday evening.

Police said the statue was desecrated by pro-Palestinian protesters. hundreds of people marched from Hunter College to the Met Gala. An American flag was also burned.

The mayor said CrimeStoppers also offered a $10,000 reward.

Police posted wanted posters depicting the suspects near the statue Tuesday afternoon.

Police say the memorial at the corner of 67th Street and Fifth Avenue was desecrated with spray-painted words like “Gaza” and phrases “Free Palestine” and “Let Gaza Live.” It happened about 10 blocks south of where the protests converged, near the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

The spray-painted messages were cleaned up Tuesday afternoon.

The NYPD is searching for the person(s) responsible for desecrating the memorial located at 67th Street and Fifth Avenue on May 6, 2024.


Mayor Eric Adams: “We cannot remain silent”

Mayor Eric Adams called the vandals “cowardly” and said they were still at large.

“I want to be extremely clear. Despite the unpopular idea that people don’t want to say it — I want to say it — I love America. I love America and I’m a proud citizen from America. And the reason we are here is because of men and women like the statue behind us. And we cannot remain silent when our symbols of freedom are desecrated by individuals who clearly hate our country and our way of life,” Adams said. “I will not remain silent and we should not remain silent, because our Silence makes it seem like everything is okay, and that’s not okay. Not only was this statue desecrated, but down the street another statue was desecrated.”

Deputy Commissioner for Operations Kaz Daughtry took to X, formerly known as Twitter, and called the act “unacceptable,” adding that this type of behavior “will not be tolerated.”

“We are going to treat this crime with the seriousness it deserves,” Adams said.

New York City is the epicenter of protests on university campuses in recent weeks. Hundreds of arrests have been made in the city and across the country as protesters in support of the Palestinians continue to oppose the war between Israel and Hamas.

On Monday evening, several hundred protesters marched with flares from Hunter College, attempting to disrupt the biggest evening in fashion. Police said 27 people were arrested, mostly for disturbing public order, and 21 people were released on summons.

The NYPD is “actively investigating this heinous crime”

Daughtry said the New York Police Department will find those responsible for the vandalism.

“I want to assure you that the New York Police Department, supported by our best detectives, is actively investigating this heinous crime. We will spare no effort until the perpetrators are brought to justice. Vandalizing a memorial, a symbol of remembrance and honor, is not “This is simply a criminal act, but also a lack of respect for the sacrifices of those who served our country,” Daughtry said “New Police. York is known for her exceptional investigative skills, and this case will be no exception. We are committed to upholding the law and ensuring that justice prevails. Let this serve as a warning to anyone who dares to destroy the monuments of our city – he “

CBS New York spoke with some people who say memorials like the one that was vandalized are indeed sacred.

“It breaks your heart. In this country you have the right to express your opinion but not to destroy history,” one man said.

“I think it’s absolutely disgusting. It’s pure violence,” another man said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), or for Spanish, 1-888-57-PISTA (74782). You can also submit a tip through their website or via DM on Twitter, @NYPDTips. All calls remain confidential.