ENFIELD, N.C. (WNCN) — The mayor of this Halifax County town says he has no regrets after his decision to bulldoze a Confederate monument in a town park led to an inquiry from the State Bureau of Investigation.
Mayor Mondale Robinson told CBS 17 News on Tuesday that he made the call to topple the 94-year-old monument Sunday night based on the best interests of the 2,350 people who live there — nearly 85 percent of whom are Black, U.S. Census figures show.
“I have no regrets about protecting residents of Enfield’s mental health, physical health or potential health,” Robinson said. “And that statue posed all three of those threats.”
The State Bureau of Investigation said it is looking into the destruction of the Confederate monument, with an SBI spokeswoman telling CBS 17 News Tuesday that the investigation began at the request of the police chief and the district attorney.
Robinson said he confirmed with the chief of police that he requested the investigation but has not discussed anything further with him “because I don’t want it to seem like I’m telling people who they can and can’t call.”
Robinson posted on his Facebook account a video of a frontend loader pushing over the monument that has stood in Randolph Park since 1928.
Last Monday, town commissioners voted to have the monument removed.
The newly-elected mayor said by tearing down the monument Sunday night he was saving the town money in the long run. “Not in my town, not on my watch,” the mayor was heard saying as the marble monument came down.
The 10-foot high monument with a Confederate flag carved in the middle was erected by the United Daughters of the Confederacy, honoring Confederate war dead and those from World War I, according to UNC Chapel Hill. In later years, additions to honor vets of other wars were added, including World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War and the Persian Gulf War.
Hundreds of Confederate monuments have been removed since 2015, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Robinson brought up one that was demolished last year in Asheville in explaining his decision.
“I don’t understand the reason that the SBI is investigating Enfield, North Carolina, for removing a statue or monument that was owned by the town since 1928 … when the SBI didn’t investigate Asheville for removing a statue of a Confederate statue that was owned by them,” Robinson said.