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Manatee County Moves Confederate Statue

Jessica Meszaros
Bob Bolus pointing at people who want to take down the Confederate monument in front of the Manatee County courthouse. He wants the statue to stay because he says it's a part of history.

Manatee County crews removed a Confederate monument from the county courthouse overnight. After lengthy public debates, Commissioners voted Tuesday to remove the monument until a decision can be reached on a prominent, respectful site.

Above: Crews discovered the statue to be unstable while moving it and it broke into two pieces.

The monument had become the focal point of intense community debate including a protest Monday night that ended in three arrests. Commissioner Charles Smith said in the meeting as long as they preserve history it doesn’t make a difference where the statue is located.

“Long as it’s in a place where you can review it and put the history in context," said Smith. "I’m beyond the issue of race. My issue is dealing with this here public safety. I’ve been in over 100 marches and protests. I’ve seen somebody ended up getting killed.”

But commissioner Robin DiSabatino said she didn’t think moving it was the answer.

“They are weaponizing us just using this statue as a weapon, as a wedge," said DiSabatino. "This whole thing is insane. This is an idol everyone’s worshipping or not. I mean it’s just beyond comprehension. There’s no guarantee if we move that thing today whether the violence is going to stop.”

The monument was taken to a secure, undisclosed location in the county.  Commissioners decided the public will be fully involved in the determination for where it ends up.

Meanwhile the county’s news release said crews discovered the 22-foot, 8.5 ton granite monument was not completely attached to the base and they separated from each other during the move.

The county plans to hire a structural engineer to evaluate the monument’s structural integrity and to design the foundation and repairs so it can be safely placed on a permanent spot in the future.