During the huge storms that swept the southeast and many parts of the nation, a lighting blast utterly destroyed a mural of George Floyd in Toledo, Ohio, on Tuesday.
The art work crumbled in the storm shortly after 5 p.m on Tuesday evening according to police. The mural was painted onto the side of a bar.
Artist David Ross, who painted the mural, says he believes the mural was either destroyed by an act of God or vandalism. Ross said that while painting the mural, he saw the strength of the wall first-hand and said it should’ve remained standing for much longer.
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“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,” Mr. Ross said. “The lightning thing, that’s possible, but I know it didn’t just fall.”
The Toledo Fire and Rescue Department officially attributed the destruction to a lightning strike based on witness accounts and an investigation of the scene. City building inspector Hugh Koogan has disputed the report, however, saying the wall had been showing signs of weakness for some time and likely just gave way on its own.
“It was just age. It just came away,” Koogan told the Blade. “It happens to the older buildings.”
Floyd was murdered last year while being arrested for reportedly using counterfeit money at a convenience store in Minneapolis. Former police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder in April and sentenced to 22.5 years in prison.
Before his death, Floyd was arrested nine previous times, mostly on drug and theft charges, and spent a couple stints in prison. In 2009, Floyd pleaded guilty to armed robbery after he and several other men robbed a home while the family was inside. Floyd’s part in the robbery was outlined in a police officer’s statement reported by Snopes:
The largest of these suspects [Floyd] forced his way into the residence, placed a pistol against the complainant’s abdomen, and forced her into the living room area of the residence. This large suspect then proceeded to search the residence while another armed suspect guarded the complainant, who was struck in the head and side areas by this second armed suspect with his pistol after she screamed for help. As the suspects looked through the residence, they demanded to know where the drugs and money were and Complaint Henriquez advised them that there were no such things in the residence. The suspects then took some jewelry along with the complainant’s cell phone before they fled the scene in the black Ford Explorer.