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#NYPD guards Christopher Columbus statue as other monuments are torn down

#NYPD guards Christopher Columbus statue as other monuments are torn down

June 11, 2020 | 3:41pm

NYPD provided body-guard service to the marble statue of Christopher Columbus that stands in Manhattan Thursday — as other monuments across the nation were beheaded and destroyed by protesters.

To stop vandals from targeting the landmark, two police officers were seen guarding the towering 75-foot structure in Columbus Circle Thursday morning, and cops later gated-off the surrounding area and parked a police vehicle next to it.

“This statue is a known target. You’ve been seeing in the news what they’ve been doing to statues and monuments all over the country that [protesters] consider offensive. Our concern is that they might do that here, which is why we have the whole circle blocked off,” a police officer near the site told The Post.

“It’s our job not just to protect people but to protect city property. So those gates are going to stay up indefinitely until the powers that be decide that things have calmed down sufficiently for us to remove them.”

The beefed up police presence comes after four Confederate statues — believed to stand at a site where slaves were once whipped — were beheaded and pulled down at the Portsmouth Confederate monument in Virginia Wednesday night.

An NYPD vehicle patrols around the Christopher Columbus Statue in Columbus Circle.
An NYPD vehicle patrols around the Christopher Columbus Statue in Columbus Circle.Seth Gottfried

At a press conference Thursday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said statues of Columbus are an important part of Italian-American history.

“I understand the feelings about Mr. Columbus, and some of his acts which nobody would support but the statute has come to represent and signify appreciation for the Italian-American contribution to New York, so for that reason I support him,” he said.

In 2017, the NYPD provided 24/7 body-guard services to the statue to protect it against vandals ahead of Columbus Day. The landmark, made by the Italian sculptor Gaetano Russo, was installed in 1892.

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