Toledo, Ohio residents are asking what happened after a George Floyd mural crumbled apart following a storm in the area. Witnesses told Toledo Police the mural was struck by lightning, but some conflicting accounts were given, according to 13 ABC News.
The news outlet reported the mural was erected in July 2020 at Summit and Lagrange, and that it collapsed Tuesday, July 13, 2021, nearly a year to the date after it was placed.
Here’s what you need to know:
Some Said the Mural Collapsed Due to Age & Disrepair While Others Said It Was Struck By Lightning
Hugh Koogan, a city building inspector, told the Toledo Blade that the mural collapsed due to natural deterioration over the last year. Koogan told the newspaper he had noticed the middle of the wall was bowing.
“It was just age. It just came away,” Koogan told the Blade.
ABC 13 had doppler radar of the storm which indicated there was a lightning strike in that block at about 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, the day of the collapse.
ABC 13 reported the wall is now just “a pile of bricks.”
A City of Toledo building inspector told the Toledo Blade that the building itself remains structurally sound, and that the owner is cleaning up the bricks that once made up the mural wall.
“The George Floyd Memorial mural at Summit and Lagrange in Toledo has come down. No word yet on the circumstances,” ABC 13 Investigative Reporter Shaun Hegarty wrote on Twitter shortly after the collapse.
“George Floyd Mural OBLITERATED by lightning strike,” wrote Drew Hernandez on Twitter.
Plans Are Being Made for a New George Floyd Mural to Be Placed in Toledo, Ohio
The City of Toledo released a statement to ABC 13, which said they will work with the local arts commission to plan a new mural or help the commission to find the artist a new location for the new mural. The mural was completed by artist David Ross, and the statement said they were “heartbroken” to see the artwork collapse.
Kaitlin Durbin, a reporter for the Toledo Blade, shared a video on Twitter of Larry Johnson, 71, picking up bricks from the fallen memorial.
“This means something to me,” he told her. “I came through the civil rights thing.”
Ross is a creative placemaking coordinator with the Ohio Arts Council, according to the arts commission’s website. He was described as “an advocate for youth and creativity” in his bio. His work often connects to social issues, the bio said.
His bio says:
Dave Ross is a community artist turned advocate for youth and creativity. He is an alumnus of The Arts Commission’s Young Artist at Work and an artist leader and founder of the charity Dunkin 4 Donations. He has a heart for mentorship, which he utilizes as a boxing coach for Soul City Boxing Club. Ross has been a member of The Art Commission’s Creative Placemaking team for two years, working to connect visual art and social issues, with a focus on youth against crime, art and health, and honoring local legends Art Tatum and Jon Hendricks to inspire our community. Ross also works with the City of Toledo Youth Commission to build creative engagement opportunities for young people.