Jonte "Jonoel" Lancaster plays trombone during a celebration for the refurbished George Floyd statue, after it was vandalized following its Juneteenth installation, Thursday, July 22, 2021 in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn borough of New York. Councilwoman Farah Louis said "this culminating ceremony thank the Flatbush community for having the statue here to educate people on systemic racism" and for coming to together to restore it. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

After vandalism, NYC George Floyd statue cleaned, will move

NEW YORK — A statue of George Floyd that was defaced in Brooklyn has been cleaned and is headed for Manhattan’s Union Square.

The artwork was unveiled on the Juneteenth holiday in a spot on Flatbush Avenue. Five days later on June 24, it was vandalized with black paint and marked with the logo of a white supremacist group.

But members of the group that installed the statue painstakingly cleaned it, and local residents and one of Floyd’s brothers gathered around it this week to bid farewell ahead of its long-planned move to Union Square as part of an exhibition in September.

“I heard the news about the vandalism. I was so proud that I got word that Flatbush held it down. They really supported us, looked out for the statue, looked out for the spirit of my brother,” Terrence Floyd said at the gathering. He added to news reporters: ”You try to stop us, but you can’t stop us. And we still gonna continue, with love.”

Andrew Cohen of Confront Art, the group behind the statue, said people spent hours cleaning off the paint with toothbrushes and hands.

“The only method that worked was really, really putting the elbow grease into it,” he said.

The statue is going back to a studio Monday for further cleaning.

No arrests have been made in the vandalism.