John Pica, the former state senator who chairs Baltimore's Columbus Day parade and festival, said Tuesday he and other activists were working on ways to protect or relocate the Christopher Columbus statue from its perch in Little Italy.
"We were working with the city to relocate the statue. we just didn't have enough time to do it," Pica told C4. "We informed the city it would cost a lot of money."
However, these efforts could not come to fruition before protesters toppled the 14-ton statue late Saturday and threw its remains into the Inner Harbor. Crews fished out pieces on Monday. Pica said the statue will be restored and moved.
"We don't want to cause trouble," Pica said. "We're going to relocate it to private property or donate it to a museum."
He said he has talked to police about protecting a second statue of Columbus in Druid Hill Park and the Columbus Obelisk in Herring Run Park, but said he understands police may not be able to protect the monuments at all hours.
Pica said he intends to hold leaders including Police Commissioner Michael Harrison to their pledge to take action against those responsible for what happened to the statue. He suggested that vandalizing a statue of a historical figure should carry a harsher penalty.
"This was not done by an African American group," Pica said. "This was not done by organized Blacks in the city. Most of the kids who did this were white and they were cheering it on."
Pica pointed a finger in particular at the group Baltimore BLOC.
In a tweet, the protest group endorsed the statue's toppling after the fact and posted organizers' demands. They include a total defunding of police, public access to police misconduct records, a reassessment of the public school history curriculum and the removal of all statues "honoring white supremacists, owners of enslaved people, perpetrators of genocide, and colonizers." Read more at WBAL