The New Jersey city of Camden is in the process of removing its Christopher Columbus statue as “the time was right to do it with everything that is happening nationally.”
Vincent Basara, its spokesman, spoke to Fox News Friday after the city announced it will “establish a plan to reexamine these outdated symbols of racial division and injustices.”
"The statue has been controversial for years and the time was right to do it with everything that is happening nationally,” Basara told Fox News, referring to the ongoing demonstrations following the death of George Floyd.
Basara said he couldn’t confirm or deny reports that pieces of the statue were seized by locals while city workers were dismantling it. He also said he isn’t sure when or if the statue would return to Farnham Park.
"At this point, it's being put in storage, and that's that,” Basara told Fox News.
While the statue is away from public viewing, the city says it will “work together as one community to establish a fair process that reevaluates these symbols in an orderly manner to ensure that resident voices are heard and acted upon.”
“Its presence has long pained the residents of the community,” a statement from the city read. “Previously, there have been requests to remove the statue as the community no longer supports the monument."
Camden also has played an active role in police reform.
In 2012, it gutted its force after officials determined rampant corruption to be "unfixable." A new force was quickly resurrected in the 73,000-person city.
Fox News’ Hollie McKay contributed to this report.