The tear-down came about during a march organized by Rose City Justice to protest police brutality – one of many demonstrations in weeks following the death of George Floyd while in the custody of the Minneapolis Police Department.
The group had gathered outside Jefferson High School in Northeast Portland before marching to the park, Fox 12 reported. By the time they returned, a statue of Thomas Jefferson, the third U.S. president, had been pulled from its pedestal by a smaller group.
Earlier in the day, the statue’s pedestal had been defaced with graffiti that labeled Jefferson as a slave owner. Jefferson had more than 600 slaves, despite publicly speaking out on the institution and writing the words “all men are created equal” in the Declaration of Independence.
“There’s an interesting piece of history up her. e... Mr. Thomas is all beside himself,” the march’s organizer said before the statue was torn down. “We’re taking this city back. One school at a time. One racist statue at a time.”
In Alabama, a statute of Confederate Admiral Raphael Semmes was removed from the state’s port city earlier this month and relocated to a museum.
And in New Mexico Monday, the Red Nation advocacy group for Native American rights was planning a protest for the removal of a statue of Spanish conqueror Juan de Oñate on horseback outside a cultural center in Alcalde.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.