3 charged in vandalism of Columbus statue in Providence
Three people have been charged in the vandalism of a Christopher Columbus statue in Providence.
Police say officers were monitoring the statue early Saturday when they saw a car pass near the memorial, which had recently been boarded up and fenced off. Minutes later, police say they saw two people run toward the statue and throw objects that left paint splattered on the protective surface around the monument.
Both people fled on foot but were arrested in a nearby parking lot, police say. Other officers pulled over the driver accused of dropping the pair off. Police say open containers of paint and rubber gloves were visible in the car.
The two accused of throwing paint were identified by police as Derrick Garforth, 34, and Charlotte Whittingham, 28. The driver was identified as Mackenzie Innis, 26. All three face a felony charge of desecration of a monument and conspiracy.
The Providence Journal reports that Garforth is a teacher at Jenks Middle School in Pawtucket and was placed on leave during an investigation by the school district.
Providence City Councilman James Taylor issued a statement saying the statue has been vandalized in the past but “remains intact.” He said it should stay where it is “due to its important significance to the neighborhood.”
Statues of Columbus have been vandalized in other cities recently, including in Boston, where a statue was found beheaded last week.