Witnesses say lightning struck a mural for George Floyd in Toledo, Ohio, leading to its collapse and destroying the structure.
Authorities assert that the mural collapsed on Tuesday around 5:17 p.m. While the city building inspector, Hugh Koogan, is attributing the collapse to the age of the structure, the Toledo Fire and Rescue Department is listing it as a lightning strike based on witness reports:
UPDATE: Witnesses have told authorities that the George Floyd mural was struck by lightning before it collapsed. https://t.co/u0QHZVh7Zp
— WTVG 13abc (@13abc) July 13, 2021
However, Koogan remains skeptical:
— Kaitlin Durbin (@njKaitlinDurbin) July 13, 2021
According to the Blade:
That witness told authorities they saw lightning strike the building at the site of the collapse, but Mr. Koogan, who talked to the person, said he found no signs to support that theory. He also dismissed claims that the rainy weather was to blame.
The artist, David Ross, said he is skeptical of the cause.
He painted the mural, titled “Take a Breath,” in the summer of 2020 amid Black Lives Matter protests following the death of Mr. Floyd under the knee of former Minneapolis police Officer Derek Chauvin. Chauvin was later convicted of murder and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
He believes it is possible someone vandalized the memorial but plans to construct another mural, regardless of the cause.
“When I did the mural, there was stuff on the wall that I couldn’t remove and that let me know how strong that structure was,” Ross said. “The lightning thing — that’s possible, but I know it didn’t just fall.”
“I’m not upset because I know I’m going to do it again, whether it was natural or vandalism,” he added.
Black Lives Matter riots followed Floyd’s death last year, resulting in over $1 billion in damage. Countless Hollywood figures and prominent Washington Democrats paid tribute to Floyd on the anniversary of this death. The Obamas, for example, urged Americans to turn action into “meaningful reform,” while twice-failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton instructed activists, “don’t stop pushing.”
A plurality of U.S. voters says race relations have gotten “worse” since Joe Biden became president, a Rasmussen Reports survey released in June found.