UPDATE: Confederate statue toppled by protesters was already being planned for removal

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Witnesses said a large group of people was seen pulling down the Confederate statue of General Williams Carter Wickham in Monroe Park on Saturday night.

The day was full of peaceful protests in counties across Central Virginia.

Later in the evening, some people managed to topple the already-tagged statue of Wickham to the ground using ropes, witnesses tell 8News.

Statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham in Monroe Park on Saturday night
Statue of Confederate General Williams Carter Wickham in Monroe Park on Saturday, June 6.

One resident in the city said that some people are taking matters in to their own hands.

“Richmond has had decades to address this issue and it hasn’t, so now the people have,” said Richmond resident Prabir Mehta.​

“You walk past here, before this thing was pulled down, you wouldn’t have known that that dialogue was happening,” Mehta said, referring to the conservancy’s plan to remove the statue.

Lawrence Smith grew up six blocks from Monroe Park.​

“I’ve been waiting for something to happen and I’ve been hopeful that it would happen in my lifetime and this maybe it, so we got to keep it going,” he said.

Kim Gray, city councilwoman and a director of the Monroe Park Conservancy, said conservancy leases the park from the city to take care of it. She said the family of General Wickham had requested the statue be taken down, and while the conservancy voted to take it down they didn’t have the authority to do it.

Gray said they’ve been quietly working through the process of getting it removed. This would have been possible due to a law that goes into effect July 1, which gives localities authority over monuments.

In addition, Gray said they found a museum who would be willing to take the statue.  

The Confederate statue of General Williams Carter Wickham in Monroe Park  on Sunday, June 7, 2020
The Confederate statue of General Williams Carter Wickham in Monroe Park on Sunday. (Laura Perrot)

Richmond Police said an investigation is on-going.

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