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17 Jun, 2021 16:29

HUGE George Floyd statue unveiled at Newark City Hall sparks controversy

HUGE George Floyd statue unveiled at Newark City Hall sparks controversy

The City of Newark, New Jersey has set off controversy after unveiling a large statue of George Floyd — the African-American man who was killed by police during an arrest last year – outside its City Hall.

Newark and its mayor, Ras J. Baraka, posted a photo of the new 700-pound bronze statue on social media Wednesday and revealed that it had been donated to the city by the artist Stanley Watts. The larger-than-life statue sits on a large bench outside City Hall and shows Floyd in a sleeveless vest.

Though the announcement was welcomed by some, many social media users protested the new statue.

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“Malcolm X does not even have a statue... give me a break!” wrote one user, while another commented, “What happened to Floyd was awful and justice was served. But in an age where we’re only supposed to have statues of superhuman faultless people, putting one up of a convicted criminal seems a bit strange.”

British conservative journalist and political adviser Calvin Robinson questioned why “statues of people who built hospitals, schools and set up scholarships” are being torn down across the Western world, while statues “in honour of violent convicted criminals” are being erected.

Others pointed out that it was strange to erect a statue of Floyd in Newark, New Jersey, considering Floyd – who was born in Fayetteville, North Carolina grew up in Houston, Texas, and died in Minneapolis, Minnesota – had no connection to the area.

Floyd died on May 25, 2020 after Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on his neck for nearly 10 minutes during an arrest over a suspected counterfeit note. Chauvin was found guilty on charges of both murder and manslaughter in April following months of riots across the US and is set to be sentenced this month. Chauvin could face up to 40 years in prison.

Before his death, Floyd had been convicted and jailed for a number of crimes, including theft, drug possession, and committing a home invasion during which he allegedly held a gun to a woman’s abdomen.

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