Jackie Robinson statue defaced with slurs in Brooklyn

NEW YORK Wed Aug 7, 2013 5:42pm EDT

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Vandals defaced a statue of barrier-breaking baseball star Jackie Robinson in Brooklyn, scrawling a racial slur, a swastika and anti-Semitic language on the figure outside a minor league baseball park, police said on Wednesday.

The hate crimes task force was investigating and no arrests had been made, a police spokeswoman said.

The statue depicts former Brooklyn Dodgers player Pee Wee Reese putting his arm around his teammate, Robinson, who became the first black player in the modern era of Major League Baseball in 1947.

Reese's gesture before a game in Cincinnati was seen as helping fans accept an African American player in what had been a segregated sport.

Police received a call early Wednesday reporting the statue at MCU Park, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, in Coney Island, was vandalized. It has since been scrubbed clean, the police spokeswoman said.

Robinson died in 1972 at age 53.

(Reporting by Daniel Trotta; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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