Police: Damage to Roanoke Robert E. Lee Memorial appears intentional

Robert E. Lee Memorial in Roanoke
Robert E. Lee Memorial in Roanoke(WDBJ)
Updated: Jul. 23, 2020 at 1:58 PM EDT
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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ) - The Robert E. Lee Memorial in downtown Roanoke was found knocked over late Wednesday.

Just before midnight Wednesday, July 22, a Roanoke Police officer driving in the area of 200 Church Avenue SW saw the monument lying on its side, broken into two pieces. The preliminary police investigation and evidence indicate the monument was damaged intentionally, according to investigators.

“It is an unfortunate incident, but this will not deter us from going through the legal process to remove the monument,” said Mayor Sherman Lea. “We have a public hearing scheduled for the second [Roanoke City] Council meeting in August to allow citizens to give their input on this matter, and we will proceed based upon the outcome of the public hearing.”

“It is unfortunate that this has occurred in light of the council having initiated the process provided in state code to facilitate the lawful removal and relocation of the monument. I am certain the council will proceed with the process and render a final decision on the fate of the monument,” City Manager Bob Cowell said. “City crews have removed the damaged monument and it will remain in storage until further action is warranted based upon the council decision. The Roanoke Police Department has initiated an investigation into this act of vandalism and it will be addressed in accordance with applicable state law.”

No one has been arrested. Anyone with information about this incident is asked to call (540) 344-8500. You can also send a text to 274637; begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. Calls and texts can remain anonymous.

The monument was dedicated in 1960 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

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