Philadelphia police investigate several acts of anti-Columbus Day vandalism

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ByBob Brooks via WPVI logo
Monday, October 8, 2018
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Columbus Day vandalism: Bob Brooks reports on Action News at 6 p.m., October 8, 2018

SOUTH PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Police are investigating multiple acts of Columbus Day-related vandalism in Philadelphia.

There are reports of several incidents around Columbus and Italian heritage landmarks around the city.

It was just a little after 4 a.m. at the Filitalia Foundation on Passyunk Avenue when surveillance video shows the suspect spray painting these messages outside: "Columbus=Mussolini=Rizzo=Trump=Facist," and "Italian Americans against racism, slavery, genocide, rape, stolen land."

The suspect is wearing a hood and mostly keeps his head down. But for a brief moment as he's about to leave he looks up. He appears to have a beard and glasses.

Police are calling what's written "anti-fascist" and "End Columbus Day" messages. But those from the foundation say it's without a doubt anti-Italian.

"Just hate. People are not in the proper mind and we should honor the past. You can't look at the future without knowing the past," said Pasquale Nestico of the Filitalia Foundation.

Nestico runs the center, and he acknowledges that some people think there should be an end to Columbus Day. But by vandalizing his property, he sees what this person did as blatant racism.

"They can have their opinion, but don't vandalize my property. Don't vandalize our mission," he said.

But the Columbus Day vandalize didn't stop there.

Officials say red paint was splattered on the Columbus Monument at Penn's Landing.

And back in South Philadelphia, the Christopher Columbus statue in Marconi Plaza was also defamed.

According to Jody Della Barba with the 1492 Association, what happened Monday is an attack on Italian-Americans throughout the Delaware Valley.

"It's gotta stop because if it doesn't stop it's gonna keep happening," Della Barba said. "It's an act of terrorism, that's what it is."

Right now, no arrests have been made. But police are hopeful that the surveillance video will lead them to who has behind all of this.


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