Vandalism of 54th Regiment memorial investigated

A Quincy woman has been arrested following an apparent act of vandalism on the Robert Gould Shaw and Massachusetts 54th Regiment Memorial at the edge of Boston Common on Tuesday afternoon, police said.

Rosemine Occean, 38, was arrested and charged with willful and malicious destruction to city property, according to police.

Around 4:10 p.m., police were called to the famous memorial, which sits across Beacon Street from the State House, where Occean was allegedly seen defacing it with yellow paint, officials said. Yellow paint could be seen spattered across the statue, and the scene was cordoned off with police tape.

When she was arrested, Occean had yellow paint on her face, hands, and clothing, police said. Officers recovered a can of yellow paint from the scene, officials said.


The memorial, by Augustus Saint-Gaudens, honors the Massachusetts 54th Volunteer Infantry, the first documented African American regiment formed in the north, according to the National Park Service. The statue depicts the regiment under the leadership of Colonel Shaw as it marched down Beacon Street on May 28, 1863 to head south to join the fight, the service said.

The regiment’s story was recounted in the 1989 film “Glory.’’

The memorial was unveiled in 1897 to serve “as a reminder of the heavy cost paid by individuals and families during the Civil War,’’ and a remembrance of the men who were among the first African-Americans to fight in that war, the service said.

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