Protesters wrap George Washington statue in American flag, set flag on fire, rip statue down

The destruction follows the removal of numerous Confederate monuments throughout the United States.

Updated: June 19, 2020 - 1:26pm

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    Protesters in Portland, Ore., overnight Friday dismantled a statue of founding father George Washington after wrapping the monument's head in an American flag and setting it on fire — opening a new front in the wave of politically-inspired vandalism targeting historical monuments throughout the country.

    The statue — crafted by Italian-American sculptor Pompeo Coppini and installed in Portland's Rose City Park neighborhood in the late 1920s — was also vandalized with spray paint. Sprayed on the statue was the number "1619," likely a reference to the recent New York Times project examining the role and history of slavery in the founding and development of the American nation. 

    Also scrawled on the statue was the epithet "genocidal colonist," though George Washington, the country's first president, is not known to have committed a mass killing of any kind and commanded Patriot forces in the war for American independence from British colonial rule . 

    The statue's destruction was captured on video. In the footage, crowds of protesters can be heard shrieking and cheering as the monument is toppled.