According to an eye witness, protesters had been working for a while to pull down the statue, one of four surrounding a monument to fallen Confederate soldiers from Portsmouth. The demonstrations were part of the ongoing George Floyd protests, national protests demanding an end to police brutality and racial disparities that were sparked by the killing of a black man by a white police officer in Minneapolis.
A man who was at the demonstration told @brettHNews:
They were pulling at a cord and they had been working at the legs for some time – they’d been trying to get it down. And there was a gentleman who was directly in front of the statue and when the statue finally did give way it came and fully hit him in the head. We could see that his skull was actually showing and he was convulsing on the ground. He lost a great amount of blood.
According to Norfolk’s 13NewsNow, Green’s wife said he coded twice in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and is now in a medically induced coma.
A GoFundMe was started for Green. It says, “Chris Green is a member of the 757 community who was severely injured during a demonstration at the Confederate monuments in Portsmouth on June 10th 2020. All proceeds will be given to his family to help with any medical expenses and anything else they may need going forward.”
According to Green’s wife, who was not at the demonstration, they have two children.
Video Shows Protestors Decapitating the Statue & Banging on Its Legs With Large Tools When Suddenly it Falls, Hitting Green
A Facebook Live Video taken by the man who started the GoFundMe, Rocky Hines, captured the revelry before Green was injured, the moment he was and the sudden change from cheers to screams of horror as the music stopped and a someone calls for an ambulance.
NBC News video also shows a festive scene at the monument before Green was struck. People were playing brass instruments while others worked on destroying the statues, which were already vandalized with paint.
Someone had been chopping at the head of the statue that fell on Green, and when it finally came off cheers were heard. Then in the lower right corner of the NBC video Green is seen directing someone who was up on the monument by pointing his finger at the person, who starts to get off the platform.
As that happens, the work of those who had been chopping at the legs and pulling on a large cord came to fruition. The statue quickly fell forward from being pulled by the cord in the crowd at the same time the bottom was being hacked. In what seemed like a split-second, the statue hit Green in the head.
Protesters stopped what they were doing as medics and police, who were nearby though not intervening in the destruction of the monument, put Green on a stretcher and took him to the hospital, according to Harrisonburg news station WHSV 3.
As Green was on his way to the hospital, protesters prayed together for his recovery before being cleared from the area by law enforcement, WHSV 3 reported.
The Portsmouth Monument Is Located on a Whipping Post Site Where Slaves Were Publicly Punished
Cassandra Newby-Alexander, a Norfolk State University history professor, told The Virginian-Pilot in 2017 that the site of the Portsmouth monument was a place where slave owners would whip slaves for the whole town, including other slaves, to see.
In 2017 there was a movement to replace the monument with a statue or tribute to Portsmouth native Missy Elliot, a rapper, singer, songwriter, dancer and producer who has won five Grammys, as calls for removing Confederate monuments took hold around the nation, resulting in the controversial removal of many, but not all.
Three years ago a petition on Change.com garnered 30,000 signatures turn the Confederate memorial into something that celebrated Elliot, but the statues stayed.
In the wake of the protests and now the destruction of the monument, that petition is getting more signatures by the moment.
This story will be updated with any news of Green’s condition. Green’s GoFundMe is up to $17,000 at the time of this story’s publication.