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Roanoke’s Confederate monument toppled; police believe it was done intentionally

City council will still vote on removing monument, even after damages

Lee statue toppled overnight in Roanoke
Lee statue toppled overnight in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va. – The city of Roanoke has released a statement after the Robert E. Lee memorial was found toppled over Thursday morning.

An officer was reportedly driving near Lee Plaza in downtown just before midnight on Wednesday when he noticed the monument lying on its side and broken in two pieces.

Police say that evidence suggests that the monument was intentionally damaged.

“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 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.”

During an interview with 10 News, Lea condemned whoever may have taken down the statue.

“It’s just not the way we do things, and I’m disappointed,” Lea said. “Some people wanted it to be done now, but we, as leaders in the community and as a council, are going to make sure we do it the right way.”

Lea said police informed him the monument may have been targeted several times recently.

“Somebody attempted to do it last week, and I think someone tried to move it the night before,” Lea said.

According to city manager Bob Cowell, crews have moved the damaged monument to storage until after a decision is made at the city council meeting in August.

No arrests have been made and police say this is an ongoing investigation.

Anyone with information is asked to call 540-344-8500.

About the Authors:

Samantha Smith joined WSLS 10’s award-winning digital team as a digital content producer in July 2018.