NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The word “shame” was spray-painted on the Confederate monument in downtown Norfolk. The monument, erected in 1907, honors the Confederate dead.
“Whether you’re for it or against it, you’re disrespecting the people whose lives were lost,” said resident Kara Bohrer.
Norfolk police spokesman Daniel Hudson says officers were called about the vandalism around 8:45 a.m. Monday. Throughout the day, crews worked to clean up the paint, while residents stopped by to take it in.
“It’s another form of freedom of speech,” said a resident who did not want to be identified. “I think you’re going to see a lot more of this. It’s an awakening going on.”
There have been calls in some southern states to remove Confederate monuments.
One local Civil Rights group, United Front for Justice, sent a letter to Norfolk City Council May 22, asking for the statue to be moved.
One resident, who thinks the monument is a symbol of hate, doesn’t believe removing the monument would remove the sentiment it represents, to him.
“You can take it down, but you can’t take down the purpose of it, you can’t eradicate the belief in it.”
Still, others hope the monument is here to stay.
“I’ve grown up walking across these cobblestones. I’ve grown up hopping across this fountain,” Bohrer said. “I work right down here. My family’s been here forever, Navy family. So it’s home and I don’t like people disrespecting my home.”
Lori Crouch, a spokesperson for the City of Norfolk, said the paint was removed by city crews shortly before 1:30 p.m.