On Friday, the same day that many people celebrated Juneteenth around the Bay Area, some tore down statues in Golden Gate Park.
Demonstrators toppled statues of St. Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key and President Ulysses S. Grant in the park's Music Concourse. Videos of the incident show a scattered group of people pulling the statues of the priest and Star-Spangled Banner songwriter to the ground to the cheers of onlookers.
The videos went viral and ignited a furious debate about President Grant’s legacy. The former Union general, who died in 1855, briefly trended on Twitter.
Other statues and fixtures in the park were also damaged. Police were dispatched but no arrests were reported.
Recreation and Parks Department employees began assessing and cleaning up the damage Saturday morning. The downed statutes were loaded onto trucks and the area briefly closed off.
Mayor London Breed issued a written statement, acknowledging the pain people are feeling but saying:
Every dollar we spend cleaning up this vandalism takes funding away from actually supporting our community, including our African American community.
The mayor also called on the Arts Commission and other city agencies to evaluate the city’s public art collection.