Virginia crowd dismantles Confederate monument to cheers; falling statue injures protester

A crowd of protesters smashed, cut up, doused in paint, burned and sprayed graffiti over a Confederate monument outside a courthouse in Portsmouth, Va., on Wednesday night -- and part of it tumbled down, reportedly seriously injuring one of the demonstrators.

Confederate statues and other monuments linked to controversial figures have drawn the ire of demonstrators protesting the death of George Floyd, as the protesters consider them to be symbols of racism and white supremacy.

“It’s a symbol that represents an ideology of white supremacy," Mark Whitaker, a former local lawmaker, told The Virginian-Pilot. “It really speaks to the consciousness of a city and of a people that would allow such an image of hate to continue to stand all these years.”


Whitaker, a former city councilman, had brought up the idea of removing the monument back in 2015, the paper reported. It includes statues of four Confederate soldiers.

But it remained in place -- until a crowd of protesters dismantled much of it themselves on Wednesday.

At least one of the statues was removed completely, according to photos and videos shared on Twitter, and all statues on the monument were damaged and defaced.

At one point, video shows a protester being struck by a falling Confederate statue. He was struck in the head and taken to a hospital, according to the Daily Press.

Using bolt cutters, hammers and other tools, the demonstrators reportedly dismantled the other statues, as well.

Eventually, police moved in and ordered the protesters to leave.

By the end of the protest, demonstrators picked up trash and cleaned up the area around the monument -- but not the monument itself -- according to video posted by Daily Press reporter Matt Jones.

Earlier in the day, two prominent members of the local NAACP chapter were arrested for trespassing near the monument, The Virginian-Pilot reported. They were issued summonses and released after about 30 minutes.

Floyd died in police custody on May 25 in Minneapolis. Four officers involved in the incident were fired and are now facing criminal charges. They are Derek Chauvin, who is seen in a video with his knee on Floyd’s neck for more than eight minutes; Thomas Lane, J.A. Kueng and Tou Thao.