Hamilton

Arrest made after bust of Harriet Tubman toppled

Niagara police have charged a 24-year-old man for toppling and partially smashing a bust of abolitionist Harriet Tubman in St. Catharines, Ont.

24-year-old faces charges for mischief over $5K and violating probation

A bust of Harriet Tubman outside the Salem Chapel BME Church in St. Catharines, Ont., was smashed over the Thanksgiving weekend. (Submitted by Salem Chapel BME Church)

Niagara police have charged a 24-year-old man for toppling and partially smashing a bust of abolitionist Harriet Tubman in St. Catharines, Ont.

The police service said in a news release that the statue was knocked over on Sunday.

It stood in front of the Salem Chapel British Methodist Episcopal Church — a building Tubman helped build alongside enslaved people who gained freedom.

Police said they identified a suspect, who has no fixed address, on Tuesday and made the arrest Wednesday.

Statue vandalized before

The accused is facing charges for mischief over $5,000 and violating probation. Police said there's no indication hate inspired the toppling.

Police released him with some conditions and a future court date was set.

The church's resident historian previously told CBC Hamilton the roughly 45-kilogram statue, erected in 2010, had been vandalized before, but not to this degree.

"She was a hero. Who would want to bother Harriet Tubman? She was a humanitarian. She was a freedom fighter," Rochelle Bush said.

Tubman escaped slavery and led dozens of others to freedom through the secret network of safe houses and contacts known as the Underground Railroad.

The church has plans to replace the statue.


For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.

(CBC)

With files from Dan Taekema

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