After a Wynwood bar owner offered $5,000 for the City of Miami to remove a statue of Christopher Columbus from Bayfront Park, his business was spray-painted with an ominous message: "IF COLUMBUS GOES, YOU GO."
Adam Gersten, the owner of Gramps, tells New Times he feels confused and concerned about the nature of the threat.
"I thought I must have struck a nerve with someone," Gersten says. "It didn't say 'Gramps goes' — it said 'you go.'"
Security footage from Gramps and neighboring businesses shows a person in a black hood, mask, and glasses spray-painting the wall around 4:30 a.m. on Friday, June 12.
#BREAKING: After @grampswynwood owner offered $5,000 donation to @CityofMiami to help remove Christopher Columbus statue from downtown, his business was spray painted with death threat #BecauseMiami @MiamiPD @Jcolina67 @KERR_MPD @MiamiMayor @joecarollonow https://t.co/u0pAalbkw5 pic.twitter.com/iZBbrC5CzN— Billy Corben (@BillyCorben) June 19, 2020
Cmdr. Dan Kerr of the Wynwood Neighborhood Enhancement Team says City of Miami Police are currently investigating the incident, which he says seems more grave than just a simple act of tagging.
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"It appears to be beyond a regular graffiti act. It's not just random," Kerr tells New Times.
Gersten's offer to remove the Columbus statue came after protesters spray-painted the monument on June 10, leading police to charge into the park and make arrests. Gersten says he wanted his proposal to be a conversation starter with the city and for it to go through appropriate channels. He did not think it would warrant what he considers a death threat.
"Having a public discussion with whoever took offense to my comment in city hall or in a Zoom meeting, non-anonymously, would be great. But personal threats, anonymously, is just weak garbage," he says.
Corben, who has more than 77,000 followers on Twitter, tells New Times he posted the video with hopes that someone would recognize the suspect and that police would complete a thorough investigation.