Tarp Over Charlottesville's Lee Statue Vandalized Again
The tarp covering the statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee in downtown Charlottesville has been vandalized yet again.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The tarp covering the statue of Confederate General Robert E Lee in downtown Charlottesville has been vandalized yet again.
Charlottesville Department of Parks and Recreation found the tarp vandalized shortly after 7 a.m. Friday, August 25, while mowing the grass. Workers began putting a new tarp over the statue shortly before 10 a.m.
People passing say it is no surprise to them that the tarp is getting some strong reactions.
"Unfortunately, I can't say I'm particularly surprised that it was vandalized. I'm glad that Charlottesville, Virginia has gone ahead to replace it and is taking care to ensure they're doing what they need to do to keep everybody safe," said Ari Moskowitz, who is visiting the city.
"This garbage bag needs to be removed," said John Miska, referring to the tarp over the statue.
Miska began cutting off the first tarp just a few hours after city crew members had first covering the Lee statue on Wednesday, August 23.
He stopped cutting away after police officers intervened, but then addressed a crowd of onlookers and people protesting him. Miska said there should have been a "referendum" on whether to cover the statues and that a "screaming minority" should not decide the fate of the monuments.
Miska said the new attempt was not his doing: "Yes, [the Lee statue] represents a terrible light on our country, but if we start covering up the scars with makeup, you're going to wake up one morning and there's going to be nothing but scars."
Crews had also covered the statue of Confederate General Thomas Johnathan "Stonewall" Jackson in Justice Park on Wednesday.
Flowers and notes left by the Lee statue for Heather Heyer remain untouched. The tarps over Charlottesville’s Confederate statues are said to be the city’s way of mourning the loss of Heather and Virginia State Police Lieutenant H. Jay Cullen and Trooper-Pilot Berke M.M. Bates. All three died on Saturday, August 12.
Charlottesville City Council unanimously voted on Monday, August 21, to have both statues covered. Councilors also moved forward during that meeting with getting approvals to remove the statues from the Board of Architectural Review.
An ongoing lawsuit is challenging the councilors' vote to remove the Lee statue from the park. The plaintiffs in that lawsuit are arguing that councilors acted beyond their authority and violated a state code prohibiting the removal of monuments or memorials to war veterans.
The city is arguing that the statue is not a war memorial.
Miska said Charlottesville City Council needs to focus on safety and also upholding law: "This is a war memorial. It's protected by the laws here in the state of Virginia," he said.
The lawsuit is expected to be taken up again in Charlottesville Circuit Court in the coming weeks.
The Charlottesville Police Department is aware of Friday’s vandalism and is looking in to it.