Colston died in 1721 and has remained a source of controversy for residents in the city as streets, memorials and buildings still bear his name. The statue of Colston was first erected in the center of Bristol in 1895, according to Al Jazeera.
But the city has now launched an investigation into the statue's destruction, Superintendent Andy Bennett of the Avon and Somerset Constabulary announced in a statement to their website.
"The vast majority of those who came to voice their concerns about racial inequality and injustice did so peacefully and respectfully," Bennett said. "The ongoing coronavirus pandemic added a different dynamic to what was always going to be a challenging policing operation."
“Keeping the public safe was our greatest priority and thankfully there were no instances of disorder and no arrests were made," he continued, in part. "However, there was a small group of people who clearly committed an act of criminal damage in pulling down a statue near Bristol Harbourside."
Bennett said the department is working to identify protestors using footage of the incident.
Despite the constabulary's reaction, many residents defended the statue's removal on social media.
"If a person [is] more upset at the pulling down of a statue of a bloke from hundreds of years ago than they did about a lynching 10 days ago, just make a mental note," said one Twitter user in reference to Floyd's death.
"A statue is usually erected to celebrate someone who was good. Edward Colston was not good," added another user. "Why is tearing it down so hard for some people to comprehend?"
To help combat systemic racism, consider learning from or donating to these organizations:
• Campaign Zero (joincampaignzero.org) which works to end police brutality in America through research-proven strategies.
• ColorofChange.org works to make government more responsive to racial disparities.
• National Cares Mentoring Movement (caresmentoring.org) provides social and academic support to help black youth succeed in college and beyond.
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