Atascadero monolith destroyed by vandals
ATASCADERO, Calif. - A metal monolith that appeared atop a peak in Atascadero Wednesday was destroyed by vandals overnight.
A video streamed online shows a group of young men who traveled from Orange County to San Luis Obispo County and destroyed the metal object, replacing it with a makeshift wooden cross. The cross is no longer in the area.
The vandals documented their trip to Atascadero, streaming the five-hour drive and ensuing vandalism on the website DLive, an online video streaming platform.
In the video, at least three of the men are seen pushing the monolith down and chanting "Christ is King" and "America First."
The men in the video repeatedly make comments regarding Jesus Christ and at multiple times make references to aliens, both from outer space and undocumented immigrants.
Throughout the more than five hours of video, the men are heard making racist statements. At one point in the video, one of the men, dressed in military garb, is heard yelling at the other men in the video to sing "Battle Hymn of the Republic" and other military songs.
According to Vice News, which reviewed the entire length of the video, the men make references to white power and burning crosses.
At this point it's unclear if the men in the video could face any charges for destroying the monolith. It was placed in a city park without permission.
The City of Atascadero released a statement about the vandalism. Mayor Heather Moreno voiced her disappointment in the destruction of the object.
“We are upset that these young men felt the need to drive five hours to come into our community and vandalize the monolith. The monolith was something unique and fun in an otherwise stressful time,” Moreno said.
The city says the Atascadero Police Department is reviewing the video and "looking into this incident further."
Atascadero owns and maintains 75 acres of the Stadium Park. The five-acre entrance to the area is owned and maintained by the Atascadero Land Preservation Society (ALPS). Both the city and ALPS are unsure how the object got to the top of the peak or who may have placed it there.
The obelisk was about 10-feet tall and was estimated to have weighed about 200 pounds and vehicle access is not available at the site.