Gov. Cooper orders removal of Confederate monuments at Capitol

Wake County News

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Gov. Roy Cooper ordered the removal of Confederate monuments on Capitol grounds Saturday.

Crews removed the remainder of the North Carolina Confederate monument, a statue to the Women of the Confederacy, and the figure of Henry Lawson Wyatt, the first North Carolinian killed in battle in the Civil War.

A lone statue remains at the main Confederate monument where two smaller statues were pulled down by crowds Friday night.

“I have ordered the Confederate monuments on the Capitol grounds be moved to protect public safety. I am concerned about the dangerous efforts to pull down and carry off large, heavy statues and the strong potential for violent clashes at the site. If the legislature had repealed their 2015 law that puts up legal roadblocks to removal we could have avoided the dangerous incidents of last night,” said Cooper.

“Monuments to white supremacy don’t belong in places of allegiance, and it’s past time that these painful memorials be moved in a legal, safe way,” Cooper added.

People gathered and cheered when the statues came down Friday night and as the statues were driven away. This comes after protesters pulled down two other Confederate statues at the North Carolina Capitol Friday night.

During the initial unsuccessful attempt to pull down two of the statues at the monument, several officers were injured, according to officials.

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who is running for governor, called the removal of the statues by a crowd “lawless” in a statement released Saturday morning.

“North Carolinians should be shocked by the utter lawlessness that occurred in downtown Raleigh once again last night, this time on the State Capitol grounds. While Gov. Cooper shifted blame when our cities were looted and buildings were damaged, he has no excuses this time. Last night’s destruction occurred on state property, right next to his office. It is clear that Gov. Cooper is either incapable of upholding law and order, or worse, encouraging this behavior. The essence of a free society is the rule of law. When our elected leaders turn a blind eye to chaos, destruction, and disorder, society begins to unravel.”

Lt. Gov. Dan Forest

Around 3:30 p.m. Saturday, crews began erecting metal barricades in areas around the State Capitol grounds. More protests are planned for Saturday night.

In 2017, Governor Cooper called for Confederate monuments on State Capitol grounds to be relocated to museums or related historical sites where they can be viewed in context. Read the Governor’s Medium post on the monuments

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