NEW YORK - The New York City Police Department is investigating after a statue that has become a center of controversy was vandalized overnight in Central Park.

Someone used white spraypaint to deface the Christopher Columbus statue in Central Park.

The vandal wrote the phrases "Hate will not be tolerated," and "Something is coming".

The figure's hands were also painted red.

A Christopher Columbus statue was recently vandalized in Queens.

Critics say the explorer is a symbol of genocide, and have called for his statues to be removed.

Many Italian-Americans argue he is a symbol of their heritage, who deserves to be celebrated.

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