A bust of Christopher Columbus at the Broome County Courthouse in Binghamton was defaced with red paint.

Red spray paint was scrawled on the bust and monument on Collier Street. (Photo: Esperanza Gutierrez/WBNG 12 News)

The bust and a stone monument on the west side of the building were vandalized.

The word "MURDERER" was scrawled on the monument and paint covered a section of the front portion of the bust.

Shortly after the vandalism was reported on Saturday, Broome County maintenance workers used a pressure washer and cleaning agents to try to remove the paint.

WBNG 12 News reporter Esperanza Gutierrez noticed the monument was defaced around 12:30 p.m. as she walked near the courthouse while working on a story downtown. She contacted Binghamton police who indicated they had been unaware of the vandalism.

It was not known whether the vandalism occurred Friday night or Saturday morning. Investigators were expected to review recordings from nearby security cameras.

A Binghamton police officer with two Broome County employees at Columbus monument. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

One county maintenance worker said he believed the Columbus monument had been defaced with spray-painted graffiti in the past. Another county employee could not recall any previous incidents involving the monument.

Placement of the Christopher Columbus Quincentennial Celebration Memorial was authorized by the Broome County Legislature in 1992.

In recent weeks, several statues and monuments honoring Christopher Columbus in the United States have been defaced and damaged.

A Broome County employee used a pressure washer to remove paint from the Christopher Columbus monument in Binghamton. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

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