Police are investigating after two city-owned Confederate monuments in Atlanta’s historic Oakland Cemetery were vandalized overnight.
The statues, which were tagged with spray paint, were noticed Friday morning when maintenance crews arrived to work, authorities said.
Police responded to the cemetery about 8:30 a.m. after receiving a call about the damaged property.
“Upon arrival, officers located two Confederate statues inside of Oakland Cemetery damaged with blue spray paint graffiti,” Atlanta police spokeswoman Marla Jean Rooker said.
In a statement, the Historic Oakland Foundation said the damaged monuments included the 126-year-old Lion of Atlanta statue, a 65-foot-tall Confederate Obelisk erected in 1870 and one of the interpretive panels located in the Confederate Memorial Grounds.
“Today, these monuments create opportunities for us, both as individuals and as a community, to acknowledge injustices of the past and to more inclusively address how our collective history shapes both our present and our future,” the statement said. “Both the Confederate Obelisk and the Lion of Atlanta memorialize Confederate soldiers who died during the Civil War; they also became gathering places for Confederate Memorial Day celebrations.”
According to police, there are no surveillance cameras at the cemetery and no witnesses to the incident.
Confederate monuments have been a divisive issue across the South in recent years, with some calling for their removal and others saying they deserve to be protected.
In its statement, the Historic Oakland Foundation said it will work with city officials to install cameras, lighting and other means of protecting monuments to ensure “that everyone, and every artifact, remains safe at this beautiful and historic location.”
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