Arrest made in vandalism of SoHo art gallery commemorating Black Wall Street, Tulsa massacre: NYPD


Black Wall Street Gallery was vandalized overnight, officials said Monday, ahead of the 100th Anniversary of the Tulsa Race Massacre, which its installation remembers (May 31, 2021 – PIX11).

SOHO, Manhattan — A Manhattan man was arrested Monday in the May defacing of a Black-owned art gallery commemorating the 100 year anniversary of the Tulsa race massacre.

William Roberson, 51, of Hamilton Heights, was arrested Monday and faces charges of criminal mischief, police said.

The art gallery displaying a “salute” to those killed in the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre was vandalized overnight on May 31, ahead of the 100th anniversary of the deadly riot, officials said.

Black Wall Street Gallery — which has been operating in SoHo since October — posted a photo to its Instagram page. In the image, the words Black Wall Street Gallery are covered in smeared white paint.

“As far as we’re concerned, smearing white paint on the word ‘Black’ is deliberate and intentional and therefore constitutes hate speech,” the post said, adding that the NYPD informed them the vandalism was not considered to be hate speech.

The NYPD told PIX11 Monday evening that its Hate Crimes Task Force was notified of the incident. On Monday, there was no indication that Roberson was being charged with a hate crime.

Following the May 31 incident, the gallery was vandalized each of the following two nights, its owner said.

Police only identified Roberson’s arrest in connection to the May 31 incident.

The Associated Press contributed.

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