Confederate monument in Forsyth Park vandalized

Confederate monument in Forsyth Park vandalized
The monument was previously vandalized in June. (Source: WTOC)

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) -A memorial to Confederate soldiers in Forsyth Park was the target of vandalism overnight Friday. This is the second time the monument has been vandalized since June.

This memorial in Forsyth Park often catches the eye of tourists and residents who walk by it and take pictures, but Saturday it was catching attention for what was spray painted on it.

“Statue Burns in 24 hrs,” “Justice 4 B Taylor” and “Black Lives Matter” were just some of the messages written in black and red paint on all of the statues. According to police, they’re not sure who is responsible for this, but it’s under investigation.

“I feel like this is a result of nothing being done," said Kristopher Monroe, Vice Chair, Savannah-Chatham County Historic Site and Monument Commission.

Monroe says he’s been working on this issue for years now. Monroe says he is continuing to push for the busts at the base of the memorial to be relocated.

“They were never intended to be there in the first place, they should’ve never been put there to begin with and this situation should’ve been solved a long time ago.”

Monroe says he’s certainly not trying to remove any sort of history. However, he says the vandalism, while it’s not right, stems from the frustration of inaction and so the busts should be moved out of a public park to a more appropriate location.

“Right now the best solution, in my mind, would be to move them to storage to preserve them until the city comes up with an appropriate solution.”

Don Newman is with the Sons of Confederate Veterans, he says a vandalism like this isn’t fair and people need to leave veterans alone.

“It is a monument dedicated to those men and boys that fought and died defending Savannah during the American Civil War," Don Newman with Sons of the Confederacy. "What these people hope to achieve by desecrating that grave marker, I have no idea.”

Mayor Van Johnson says the law makes it very hard for the City to remove or relocate these monuments.

“The law is quite clear about how that is to be achieved. Although we’re weighing our options to see what works the best," said Mayor Johnson.

Mayor Johnson says he is talking with the city attorney regarding the legal standard about this, but no matter what vandalism will not be tolerated.

“This act of vandalism is unacceptable and will not be tolerated.”

One resident says monuments don’t matter more than the dignity and feeling of African Americans and that Savannah needs to get their priorities right.

“This is just a symptom of that disordered thinking and we need to rearrange how we do things in Savannah," said Bonnie Terrell.

While many people we spoke to said what was done isn’t right, some say it also doesn’t compare to the reason behind why it was done.

“The background and the preface to this graffiti is something that was way more horrible," said visitor Rashawn Austin.

The City of Savannah says they’ll have extra police patrolling the surrounding area. They also remind people that if you see anything suspicious to report it immediately.

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