Yonkers Police were dispatched to Columbus Park shortly before 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 29, where there were reports of a vandalism incident, prompting an investigation that led to the arrest of 27-year-old city resident Emmanuel Santiago Batista, who allegedly destroyed the bust with a baseball bat.
According to police at the scene, officers reported that a bust of Christopher Columbus was missing from its pedestal and later found it, heavily damaged after it “appeared to have been forcibly removed from its rightful location without permission or authority and subsequently damaged."
After interviewing witnesses and reviewing surveillance video, detectives from the Yonkers Police Department Intelligence Unit determined that there was probable cause that Batista was a suspect. He was later charged with a felony count of third-degree criminal mischief.
Just in time for the holiday celebrating his namesake, the bust of Columbus was replaced in the park over the weekend.
In the days following the vandalism, Westchester County Executive Rob Astornio vowed to prosecute any suspect to the fullest extent of the law.
“The attack on the Christopher Columbus statue in Yonkers constitutes a criminal offense. Whoever committed it will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” he said. “The statue craziness is getting absolutely ridiculous and must stop. We are a society of laws, not mob rule.”
The case is now under the jurisdiction of the Westchester County District Attorney’s Office, which is prosecuting the case.
“Due to the steadfast hard work of our patrol officers and detectives, we were able to identify the person responsible for vandalizing this tribute to Christopher Columbus,” Yonkers Police Commissioner Charles Gardner added. “He will be held accountable by the Criminal Justice System.”
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