A man has admitted destroying a plaque in Leeds which paid tribute to a British-Nigerian man who drowned in 1969 after being chased by police.
Gregory Palmer, 60, ripped the memorial to David Oluwale off Leeds Bridge last July and threw it into the River Aire.
But he told Leeds Magistrates’ Court he tore the plaque down because he had seen offensive language scrawled on it.
It was the third time the tribute had been vandalised since it was unveiled in April 2022.
Mr Palmer, of St Peters Court, Bramley, was seen on CCTV footage taking down the replacement plaque before throwing it off the bridge and walking away on 7 July last year.
Prosecutors said they did not agree he had acted because he was offended by racist graffiti which he claimed to have seen on the tribute.
Mr Palmer is due to appear at Leeds Magistrates’ Court on 16 October for a hearing to determine the facts surrounding the destruction of the blue plaque.
Another man, aged in his 30s, remained under investigation after being arrested on suspicion of taking the original blue plaque, police said.
Mr Palmer was also charged with two separate offences in relation to racially aggravated damage to the entrance of the Marks and Spencer store on Wellington Street in Leeds.
He faces a trial on 13 October over these charges after accepting he had damaged the store by writing on it in felt-tip pen, but denying it was a racially aggravated offence.
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