Chicago Mayor Orders Christopher Columbus Statues Removed After Protesters Target Her


Chicago’s two Christopher Columbus statues were removed by the city early Friday morning under the cover of darkness.

Mayor Lori Lightfoot ordered statues of the historic figure taken down in Grant and Arrigo parks, but her office said their removal was “temporary.”

“The city of Chicago — at Mayor Lightfoot’s direction — has temporarily removed the Christopher Columbus statues in Grant Park and Arrigo Park until further notice,” the mayor’s office said in a statement.

“This action was taken after consultation with various stakeholders. It comes in response to demonstrations that became unsafe for both protesters and police, as well as efforts by individuals to independently pull the Grant Park statue down in an extremely dangerous manner,” the statement continued.

“This step is about an effort to protect public safety and to preserve a safe space for an inclusive and democratic public dialogue about our city’s symbols. In addition, our public safety resources must be concentrated where they are most needed throughout the city, and particularly in our South and West Side communities.”

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The decision to take down the statues was made after activists targeted Lightfoot’s home Thursday night.

Last week, a protest at the Grant Park statue became violent.

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WMAQ-TV reported 49 Chicago police officers were injured during the melee at the statue.

Of those officers injured, 18 of them were hospitalized for their injuries and one officer suffered a broken eye socket.

The group of people responsible for the violence was attempting to topple the park’s Columbus statue, and one threw an “incendiary device or an explosive device” at officers, Chicago Police Department Deputy Chief Daniel O’Shea told WMAQ-TV.

O’Shea described the protest as “a riot situation.”

WBBM-TV reported the statue at Grant Park was taken down by the city at around 3 a.m. local time Friday as protests raged outside of Lightfoot’s home.

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Marissa Parra with WBBM-TV shared a video of the Grant Park statue’s removal.

Not long after, the Columbus statue at Arrigo Park in Chicago’s Little Italy neighborhood was removed by the city.

Ariel Parrella with WBBM-AM celebrated the removal of the statue in Little Italy.

That action drew criticism from opponents of the mayor.

Alderman Raymond Lopez criticized Lightfoot on Twitter for ordering the statues to be removed.

“What has become of Chicago?” Lopez wrote. “We have a mayor forced into submission by anarchy & mob-rule? No more public process, official discourse, or on-the-record debate. The lesson learned is that if you want action from Lightfoot, show up en mass at her house & she will cave every time.”

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.