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George Floyd mural destroyed by lightning strike, witnesses say — and reactions are particularly pointed

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Image source: YouTube screenshot, composite

A George Floyd mural in Toledo, Ohio, was destroyed by what witnesses say was a lightning strike, police told WTVG-TV.

What are the details?

The building wall upon which the mural was painted collapsed, the station said, adding that WTVG's Doppler radar showed a lightning strike around 4:30 p.m. Tuesday in the block where the building — which used to house the Mugshots Bar — is located.

In the aftermath, the station said Toledo police were seen outside the building and setting up tape around the pile of bricks upon which the artwork was crafted.

George Floyd Mural Reportedly Struck by Lightning in Toledo, Ohio youtu.be

The building itself is structurally sound, a city building inspector told WTVG, and the owner of the building is working to clean up the bricks and tear down the rest of the mural wall.

However, an updated version of WTVG's story added that Hugh Koogan, a city building inspector, told the Toledo Blade newspaper that the collapse was a result of natural deterioration and that the middle of the wall was bowing recently.

"It was just age," the inspector told the Blade, according to WTVG. "It just came away." It's unclear if Koogan is the city building inspector WTVG cited saying the building is structurally sound.

The mural was painted in July 2020 — nearly one year to the date of its destruction, the station said. Groups have held memorial services for Floyd in front of the mural, WTVG noted, adding that one of them took place on the one-year anniversary of Floyd's death at the hands of Minneapolis police.

The City of Toledo said in a statement that officials will work with the arts commission on planning a new mural or help the commission and the artist find a new location, the station said, adding that they were heartbroken to see artist David Ross' work collapse.

What was the reaction to the mural's destruction?

Commenters had a bit of a field day reacting to a WTVG investigative reporter's tweet about the mural's demise:

  • "And they say God isn't real," one commenter wrote.
  • "I'm not a religious person whatsoever, but if there was ever an event that caused me to pause, this would be it," another user said. "Wow..."
  • "Warning — be on the lookout for liberal logic on this: Lightning struck the mural; There is more lightning because of climate change; Republicans don't believe in climate change; Republicans are all white racists; White racists therefore destroyed the mural," another commenter quipped.
  • "Now BLM gonna say that lighting strikes are racist, and they should check their privileges," another user observed.
  • "Was wondering why we wanted a mural of a criminal anyway," another commenter noted. "Of course it's awful he's dead, but that doesn't mean we should celebrate a guy who held a knife to a pregnant woman's belly."

The following video includes a snippet showing the mural prior to its destruction:

Toledo Black Lives Matter activists remember George Floyd one year later youtu.be

This story has been updated to include the opinion of a city building inspector who said the reason for the wall's collapse was natural deterioration.

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