BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore Mayor Bernard C. “Jack” Young has vetoed a bill that would have renamed the city’s Columbus Obelisk Monument to memorialize victims of police violence.
In a letter to City Council President Brandon Scott, Young wrote he vetoed the bill, which would have changed the name of the monument in Heinz Park to the Victims of Police Violence Memorial, due in part to opposition to Police Commissioner Michael Harrison.
“The monument to be renamed by this ordinance is close to another memorial honoring police officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty,” Young wrote. “Before the ordinance was passed, Commissioner Harrison spoke to members of the Council and expressed his belief that placing the memorials in such close proximity diminishes the sacrifice of officers who have died in the line of duty and does a disservice to their families. I agree with the Commissioner that both memorials are important, and that they should be places for reflection and remembrance, free of disruption and divisiveness.”
Harrison made similar comments in a Facebook post in September.
The bill was the latest effort to remove Christopher Columbus’ name from monuments in the city; on July 4, protesters tore down a statue of Columbus in Little Italy and threw it into the Inner Harbor.
The outgoing mayor added he’s confident the city will find “meaningful and productive ways” to remember police violence victims.
The council passed the bill 11-4 in October.