As a group assembled at the base of the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial around 4:10 p.m. Tuesday for a tour with National Park Service rangers, a woman approached the statue and threw yellow paint on it, according to police.
The paint streaked across the statue and also landed on three tourists, National Park Service spokesman Sean Hennessey said.
The rangers called 911 and stood by the woman while she sat down near the monument, which is directly across the State House, on Beacon Street. A National Park Service law enforcement ranger and Boston police officers responded.
Police arrested Rosemine Occean, 38, of Quincy, on a charge of willful and malicious destruction to city property. Occean could also face federal charges since the monument is a Boston African American National Historic Site, Hennessey said.
The bronze statue is dedicated to Col. Robert Gould Shaw and the 54th Massachusetts Colored Regiment, the first unit in the Union Army comprised of free African-American soldiers in the Civil War.
Tuesday's attack marks the second time in less than six months that paint has been used to deface the monument, Hennessey said. Last time, green paint was used and it cost the Friends of the Public Garden $3,000 to clean it.
As of Wednesday, the statue had police tape around it. Conservators will allow the paint to air dry for one more day so that it will be easier to clean, according to Hennessey. Clean-up, which will again be paid for by the Friends of the Public Garden, will start tomorrow and take about a week, he said.