NEW BRITAIN – The Borinqueneers Monument, which honors Puerto Rican members of the U.S. Army, has been vandalized.
The monument, located across from the New Britain Fire Department headquarters at the intersection of Beaver Street, Washington Street and Farmington Avenue, had “235 North St.” spray painted on it. A medallion that honors the wars the Borinqueneers fought in was also removed.
“I am beside myself that there are people in this community can have such blatant disrespect for individuals who sacrificed their lives for our freedom,” Mayor Erin Stewart posted on Twitter.
New Britain police are investigating the act of graffiti by reviewing area surveillance video and asking anyone with information about the incident to contact them at 860-826-3000.
The area around 235 North St. is the location where a man was fatally shot in January after he allegedly tried to rob one of two male teenagers since charged in the murder.
Public Works department crews were working to remove the graffiti early Friday morning, according to a press release from the mayor’s office.
The New Britain Latino Coalition has a GoFundMe page with a goal of $25,000 to help with repairing the monument, which can be found at gofundme.com/help-fix-borinqueneers-monument. A new stain on the monument will be required, the mayor’s office release said.
The monument, which cost about $300,000 in state funds to build and was dedicated on April 28, 2018, honors the 65th Regiment of the U.S. Army, which was formed out of Puerto Rico in 1899.
The unit included Mexican-Americans, African-Americans, Filipinos, Virgin Islanders and other nationalities who were segregated from other services members, the release said. The unit was renamed the Borinqueneers in 1920. Borinquen is the name of the indigenous people on the island before the Spanish arrived.
Fighting in World War I, World War II and the Korean War, the Borinqueneers were honored with more than 2,700 Purple Hearts, a Medal of Honor, nine Distinguished Service Crosses, more than 250 Silver Stars and more than 600 Bronze Stars.
Former Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Puerto Rican Governor Ricardo Rossello, the New Britain Latino Coalition, Borinqueneer veterans, and several local, state, and federal delegates joined Stewart in dedicating the monument.
Charles Paullin can be reached at 860-801-5074 or firstname.lastname@example.org.