George Floyd memorial in Davis removed ahead of Chauvin verdict; artwork quickly replaced Wednesday

Local News

DAVIS, Calif. (KTXL) — The Solidarity Space in Davis Central Park honors people, mostly Black, killed mostly by the police. 

The original, inspired by George Floyd, was created over the course of the last year.

The replacement tribute seen Wednesday appeared in a matter of hours.

 “We didn’t want any time to pass as soon as we found out so people really mobilized in our community to come out,” said Kate Mellon-Anibaba.

Though the community made quick work of putting the social justice memorial back up, Mellon-Anibaba told FOX40 she’s still trying to wrap her mind around the level of effort and coordination it took to bring it down.

A photo showed what the Solidarity Space looked like on April 13 when people came together to remember Daunte Wright, who was fatally shot by a police officer in Minnesota.

The memorial included elaborate artwork, some of it secured to the park fencing.

By Tuesday, not one trace of the tribute remained. 

“This was definitely an erasure,” Mellon-Anibaba said. “You’re taking old candles, old dying flowers, you took everything out of this space.”

Organizers believe someone made off with the memorial sometime Monday evening and Tuesday morning, the eve of the verdict in the George Floyd killing.

Co-creator of the space, Sule Anibaba believes the timing was sending a message of intimidation.

“The timing was letting us know, ‘Yeah, we’re here and we’re not going anywhere. Yeah, you all can do what you want to do but we’re going to make you uncomfortable,’” Anibaba said.

People like Davis Mayor Gloria Partida turned out Tuesday to be together after the Floyd verdict only to be confused and crushed to find a missing memorial.

Partida, the Davis City Council and the Davis Police Department say they did not move the memorial and do not know who did or why.

“There are people who feel very strongly against the movement that has been going on around police reform,” Partida said.

Anibaba feels the group that rallied to rebuild the replacement memorial left him with a stronger feeling.

“There’s some bad people here but it’s not all bad so it represents hope for me,” Anibaba said.

The mayor and police say they see this as more than removing a memorial, it’s a theft of thousands of dollars of property.

The Solidarity Space is currently raising money for a permanent art installation in the park.

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