A man was arrested in New York this week after he allegedly threw a cinder block at a mannequin of former president Barack Obama, breaking a glass window at a Harlem lingerie store in the process.
According to ABC 7 in New York, the man destroyed the front window of the Romantic Depot, a lingerie store on Broadway in Harlem. The incident took place late last month, and the man was arrested Tuesday. He had been caught on surveillance video pacing near the store, kicking the window, then tossing the cinder block and pulling the Obama mannequin out of it.
The store had put up a humorous display, with the Obama mannequin wearing a Santa Claus costume, next to a mannequin of Donald Trump dressed as a princess with a MAGA hat on. The store also has 16 other decorative mannequins of various celebrities.
“He said Barack Obama was telling him something, and Barack Obama’s not gonna talk to him like that, and that he doesn’t like Barack Obama,” a store employee told the TV station. “And he’s so calm with it, so that’s how we knew there was probably something wrong with him.”
A store security guard was able to subdue the man. The owner of the store later told the New York Daily News that other store employees had to protect the assailant from a group of “Obama fans” nearby.
“He could have been killed. We had women trying to kick him in the head. We had to protect him because he had damaged the Obama image,” store owner Glen Buzzetti told the newspaper, adding that he believed the attacker was a supporter of President Trump who attacked the Obama mannequin out of political animus.
Buzzetti later estimated the damage to the store at $1,000.
The 41-year-old suspect was charged with criminal mischief damaging property, and released with a summons.
Romantic Depot, which calls itself “the top-rated sexy lingerie stores in the NYC and New York area,” has seven locations in New York and New Jersey. The location where the incident took place is the chain’s newest store.
This is not the first time that a symbol of Obama has been attacked. In 2014, a dummy of the then-president was found hanging from a bridge in the Kansas City area, leading to traffic delays, per WDAF TV. In 2013, a fringe conservative group called Stand Up America Now held a “Nationwide Burning of Effigies and Images of President Hussein Obama Day,” as shown on YouTube.