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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – The Confederate monument outside the Madison County Courthouse was vandalized sometime overnight.

The monument was covered in what appeared to be red paint Wednesday morning. Some Madison County citizens say they were shocked when they saw it.

“I figured at some point, someone would potentially do something to the statue, but I didn’t think this soon and I really wasn’t expecting it to be this vivid,” said Remus Bowden.

Another spectator called the vandalism artistic. “Honestly, I think it’s a beautiful representation,” said Ursula. “I think the fact that there’s no blood on him and it’s everything on his feet and below is very artistic.”

When Madison County Commission Chair Dale Strong was asked for his thoughts on the vandalism he said: “You know, I was made aware of it and it is what it is.”

Other people who visited the courthouse Wednesday morning said they didn’t notice the paint at first.

“To be totally honest with you, I didn’t notice it until you pointed it out,” said John Meredith, who is running for Huntsville City Council District 5. “Perhaps, I have gotten to the point in life where I am blind to the monument. It’s there, but I don’t see it.”

Several people told WHNT News 19 that they believe the red paint is meant to send a message that the Confederate monument needs to be moved.

Groups have protested since the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis to have the monument removed from the courthouse. The Madison County Commission has been in the process of working to have the monument relocated.

“I’m a very strong supporter of removing a treasonous statue that doesn’t need to be there in the first place,” said Rebecca Boggs.

“I can’t agree that this monument should be here, should have been here or should ever go back up again if they do decide to take it down,” said Bowden.

The Huntsville City Council and Madison County Commission have both said they support the movement of the statue, but Alabama law makes it tricky.

Chairman Strong said even acts of vandalism won’t push the county to break state law.

“If we do things illegally just because of vandalism, I can only imagine what the next situation would be,” said Strong. “You know, if you go and remove this monument and do it in an unlawful way, what will be the next thing that we’re asked to do unlawfully?”

The unlawful splatter of paint is being investigated by Madison County Sheriff’s Office. The person responsible could face criminal mischief charges.

“It’s a terrible thing because it’s defacing public property,” said Meredith. “Regardless of where you stand, you know that the current situation can’t continue. We got to sit down, both sides, and come up with a solution.”

Chairman Strong says he believes the statue will be moved by the start of next year.