George Floyd Mural Destroyed After Lightning Strike, Witnesses Report

A mural honoring the late George Floyd collapsed after being hit by lightning, according to witnesses.

Photos show the mural in Toledo, Ohio—which was painted following Floyd's death last year—reduced to rubble.

According to local ABC-affiliate WTVG, Toledo Police said witnesses reported lightning had hit the building at approximately 4:30 p.m. local time on Tuesday.

13abc reported that its Doppler radar, a device used in weather monitoring, detected a strike around the area at that time.

A witness also told Toledo Fire and Rescue Department they had seen lightning hit the building before the collapse, according to WTOL11—which reported that the department confirmed this caused the wall to fall.

Pictures circulating on social media showed that police had subsequently cordoned off the area, where the pile of bricks that formed the artwork remained.

According to WTVG, the building's owner was already working on cleaning up the rubble and pulling down the remainder of the mural.

A spokesperson for the City of Toledo told the broadcaster it will work on plans for a new mural and that different locations that could house the artwork were being explored.

The George Floyd Memorial mural at Summit and Lagrange in Toledo has come down. No word yet on the circumstances #13abc pic.twitter.com/SkB2eDhijB

— Shaun Hegarty (@Shaun_Hegarty) July 13, 2021

While witnesses reported the lightning strike, there were questions over whether this was the direct cause of the collapse.

Hugh Koogan, one of the City of Toledo's building inspectors, told the Toledo Blade the collapse of the mural could have also been caused by natural deterioration

He added building inspectors had recently observed the middle part of the wall, the area that sustained most of the damage on Tuesday, had started bowing of late.

"It was just age. It just came away," Koogan was quoted as saying. "It happens to the older buildings."

Newsweek has contacted Toledo Police, Toledo Fire and Rescue Department and the City of Toledo for comment.

The mural was painted by artist David Ross in July 2020. Earlier this year a memorial service for Floyd was held on the first anniversary of Floyd's death, in scenes mirrored at similar sites nationwide.

It was painted on the building that used to house the Mugshots Bar, which is located on the corner of Summit Street and Lagrange Street, approximately one mile north of downtown Toledo, WTVG reported.

A Black man, Floyd died on May 25 last year in Minneapolis after being apprehended on suspicion of passing a counterfeit $20 bill at a store.

His arrest was caught on camera by a bystander, whose video showed police officer Derek Chauvin kneeling on Floyd's neck for almost nine minutes.

The footage, in which Floyd can be heard saying "I can't breathe," sparked nationwide protests against racial inequality and police brutality.

Chauvin was subsequently fired by the Minneapolis Police Department and on April 20, he was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

On June 25, he was sentenced to 22.5 years in prison with possibility of supervised release contingent on factors such as good behavior after serving two-thirds of his sentence or 15 years for second-degree murder.

George Floyd Mural
A woman holds a Black Lives Matter flag front of a mural of George Floyd near the George Floyd Memorial Square on May 25 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. A similar mural in Toledo, Ohio, collapsed on July 13 after witnesses said it was hit by lightning. Kerem Yucel/AFP/Getty Images