Alabama monuments law allows moving statues for emergency repairs

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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the vandalism of the Confederate monument Wednesday in front of the Madison County Courthouse.

Authorities found the monument covered in what appeared to be red paint early Wednesday morning.

The monument has been at the center of protests over the summer. Calls for the monument’s removal started with street protests, then found support from the Madison County Commission, the Huntsville City Council and local business groups.

The statue was first put up in 1905. It was damaged and later replaced in the 1960s. It honors the Confederacy, which seceded from the United States, claimed white supremacy and fought to maintain slavery in its member states.

But removal is blocked by a state law and carries a $25,000 fine.

Local groups have raised the money to pay the fine, but elected officials say they want to follow the law and petition to move the statue to Maple Hill Cemetery.

The law also provides another option.

The law says if a monument needs emergency repairs, it can be moved for that process. WHNT News 19 reached out to county officials Thursday on the prospect of moving the monument for repairs. Commissioner Phil Vandiver said that has not been discussed. He wants to go to the state’s Monument Preservation Committee in October and get it moved with permission.

WHNT News 19 asked County Chairman Dale Strong about cleanup of the monument. He said it will be left as it is for now.

The sheriff’s office said a criminal mischief investigation into the paint dousing is ongoing. Criminal mischief resulting in at least $2,500 worth of damage is a class C felony.

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