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Shrouds Removed from Both Confederate Statues in Charlottesville

Posted: Updated: Sep 18, 2017 03:18 PM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

Two controversial statues of Confederate generals in Charlottesville lost their tarps. 

The statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson were originally covered up after City Council voted unanimously to put a tarp over the monuments as a sign of respect to the three people who lost their lives on August 12 after the Unite the Right rally.

The Robert E. Lee and Thomas Jonathan "Stonewall" Jackson statues were unveiled Saturday morning, but have since been recovered by city workers. 

Charlottesville police released a statement saying  they do not know who removed the tarp on the morning of September 16, however, witnesses reported that police were present when a group of men removed the tarp a little after 7 a.m. 

"The cops were just standing there and the people who had pulled the tarp off had pretty much disappeared and were all gone. When I was walking up the last of that person was running through a back corner, and the cops were just standing there. And they weren't doing anything, and I was yelling stuff at them, saying 'why aren't you doing anything?'" said a witness who would prefer to remain unnamed. 

Stephen Upman with Charlottesville police say officers did see men pulling the shroud off the Robert E. Lee Statue. According to Upman, officers told the men if they damaged the shroud, the would be charged with vandalism. The tarp remained fully intact while they removed it, so police say there was no crime. 

This is not the first time that crews have had to recover the statue. 

There are controversial views on whether or not the shroud should be replaced. Jason Kessler, who organized the Unite the Right rally, hosted the event as a way to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. 

"It was uncovered this morning, and it was nice to see. It should stay uncovered. It's part of our history. Leave it alone,” said Steve Thompson of Charlottesville. 

"It’s funny. Initially if you had asked me before the rally, I probably would have thought it was a bad thing, only because I think it's important that we have thorns to remind us of our history, even the negative, horrible, despicable things that we have. But, as a result of that rally, I'm kind of glad that we are covering these things,” said Brian Hume. 

The statues will remain covered until an ongoing lawsuit reaches a verdict. It's up for debate whether or not these statues can be removed from the parks entirely. 

At approximately 10:50 p.m. a report came in that the shroud was removed once again.  There is no report on when the city will replace that one.