BINGHAMTON, NY (WSKG) – Binghamton city officials were frustrated on Monday after a fire destroyed a playground at Recreation Park on the city’s west side.
The incident is under investigation.
The fire came several hours after more than a thousand people protested peacefully against racism and police brutality. The protest was a response to the death of George Floyd, a black man killed by Minneapolis police a week before.
The march took the Binghamton protestors to Recreation Park where several people spoke to the crowd. In 2018, the park was also the site of a confrontation between Binghamton police and two black teenagers.
Mayor Rich David said before the fire he was proud the demonstration in the city on Sunday occurred without any major incident when so many others around the state and country have been clouded in violence.
“We were without major incident until this arson,” David said. “And so, I don’t want that to be what people remember out of yesterday’s demonstration.”
David and other officials said they believe a majority of the protestors on Sunday were peaceful. They called the people who burned the playground instigators and criminals.
“I shouldn’t give my opinion, but it wasn’t necessarily any one of those peaceful marchers,” Binghamton Police Chief Joseph Zikuski said. “It was the instigators that the mayor spoke about that has nothing to do with what’s going on in this country they’re just looking to cause a problem.”
Zikuski said his office is working with other city officials to investigate.
Binghamton’s Fire Department got the call about the fire just before 1 A.M. on Monday. Mayor David committed to rebuilding the playground.