The NYPD Hate Crimes Task Force is investigating the defacing of a statue of baseball legend Jackie Robinson, which took place sometime after Tuesday night's Brooklyn Cyclones game outside MCU Park in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn.
Officials say a vandal targeted the monument to the first African-American player in Major League Baseball.
Swastikas and the name "Hitler" were scrawled on the statue's base in black marker, as well as several uses of the N-word.
The statue depicts Robinson and fellow teammate Pee Wee Reese, at a moment when Reese stood up for Robinson as he was heckled.
The tribute stands outside the home of the Brooklyn Cyclones minor league team.
Several elected officials expressed outrage at the vandalism in statements, including Sen. Charles Schumer, who says, "Almost every Saturday morning I stop by the statue on my bike, and am deeply moved each time. Defacing the Jackie Robinson statue is a dagger in the heart to everything America stands for, and I hope those who are responsible are caught, punished, and taught why what they did is so disgusting and offensive."
Officials at Municipal Credit Union, the name sponsor of MCU Park, say in a statement that they are "deeply disheartened and outraged" by the vandalism and hope that the police quickly find whoever is responsible.
For many Brooklyn residents, the incident was disturbing.
"That's outrageous 'cause that's disrespectful to people that created it, it's disrespectful to Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese, and to the whole Coney Island community, whoever did it," said one resident.
"To tell you the truth, it makes me feel kind of bad," said another. "Whoever did this, I don't know why they did it, out of anger or, I don't know, it is what it is, but that's just messed up. That's not right."
There is a $1,500 reward being offered by City Councilman David Greenfield, State Senator Eric Adams and City Council candidate Mark Treyger for any information leading to an arrest and conviction of those responsible.
Anyone with information on the case should contact the Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS, or text CRIMES and then enter TIP577, or visit www.nypdcrimestoppers.com.