A group of protesters toppled a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis along Richmond, Virginia’s, famed Monument Avenue — marking the city’s third memorial to be torn down in the last week, according to The Hill.
The polarizing statue was torn down around 11 p.m. Wednesday night, NBC12 reported, and left in the middle of an intersection.
Protesters in Richmond have pulled down a statue of Jefferson Davis, the former president of the Confederacy pic.twitter.com/Myl0UfDSNI
— philip lewis (@Phil_Lewis_) June 11, 2020
City police responded to the scene and formed a perimeter, Richmond Times-Dispatch reporter Zach Joachim tweeted, while social media videos show a crowd of people cheering as the monument is towed away. The statue fell around 11 p.m. and was hauled off by 11:30 p.m., according to the Times-Dispatch.
The statue was among a number of prominent Confederate monuments comprising the renowned Monument Avenue in Richmond, which was once the capital of the Confederacy.
The Jefferson Davis statue on Monument and Davis is down. RPD has formed a perimeter. pic.twitter.com/qt8F6og2GN
— Zach Joachim (@ZachJoachim) June 11, 2020
The Jefferson Davis take-down happened during nationwide anti-police brutality protests over the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died while in white police custody on May 25.
Bystander footage shows now-former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pressing his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for over eight minutes as the 46-year-old begged for air.
Activists have since demanded justice for Floyd, citing “institutionalized racism in law enforcement agencies,” according to CNN, and decades’-worth of other victims.
At least 10 monuments to Confederates or other controversial figures have since been removed across the country, BuzzFeed News reported. NASCAR also announced on Wednesday that it would ban the Confederate flag from its events and properties.
— NASCAR (@NASCAR) June 10, 2020
Virginia Protesters Toppled Statues of Christopher Columbus Statue & Another Confederate Leader
As controversial monuments across the globe continue to be scrutinized, Davis’ statue marks the third Richmond monument to be uprooted by protesters since Floyd’s death.
On Tuesday, a 93-year-old Christopher Columbus statue was dismantled, spray painted and set on fire before being tossed into a lake, according to NBC12.
Following a chorus of “tear it down” chants, protesters left a cardboard sign reading, “Columbus Represents Genocide” in the statue’s place.
Black Lives Matters protesters tore down a Christopher Columbus statue, set it on fire, then dumped it in a lake in Richmond pic.twitter.com/LPKlY9opR3
— Only Observer (@Only___Observer) June 10, 2020
A Monroe Park monument of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham was also toppled last weekend, the Associated Press reported.
Demonstrators pulled the 1891 statue down with a rope, the Richmond Times-Dispatch reported, while one proceeded to urinate on it.
The statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham in Monroe Park lays beside its base, covered in paint. pic.twitter.com/D6EgslhpS7
— The Commonwealth Times (@theCT) June 7, 2020
About an hour after the incident, nearly 40 cars were seen blocking traffic to surround the nearby General Robert E. Lee statue, the Times-Dispatch reported.
Virginia Officials Are Listening
The Davis incident came one week after Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney said he would propose an ordinance to remove all four city-controlled Confederate monuments along the Avenue.
The mayor promised to introduce the bill on July 1, when a new state law goes into effect giving local governments authority to remove the monuments on their own.
We're implementing the #MarcusAlert, committing to a Citizen Review Board, introducing an ordinance to remove Confederate monuments, and more. These are steps to the healing our city desperately needs. Thank you for your voices, and I look forward to working together. #1RVA https://t.co/gUR6s4Hros
— Levar M. Stoney (@LevarStoney) June 3, 2020
Last week, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced his intent to remove Lee’s statue from the avenue. An administration official told the New York Times that the monument was the only Confederate statue in Richmond over which the state had control.
But a state judge quickly blocked the governor by issuing a 10-day injunction.
Richmond Circuit Court Judge Bradley B. Cavedo granted a request by attorneys for William C. Gregory to halt preparation work involved in removing the statue, according to USA Today.
The order alleges that the directive is a violation of an 1890 deed filed in Henrico County declaring the commonwealth is to “faithfully guard” and “affectionately protect” the statue.
READ NEXT: U.S. Military Bases Named After Confederates