NORFOLK, Va. — The City of Norfolk started removing the remainder of its downtown Confederate monument on Tuesday, June 16.
Last week, the 16-foot bronze statue that topped the monument -- commonly known as "Johnny Reb" -- was removed in the interest of public safety, following nationwide protests of such monuments, including one that left a person seriously hurt at Portsmouth's Confederate monument.
The City said it is proceeding with the immediate removal of the remainder of the monument after protesters climbed higher portions of it to spray-paint graffiti.
On Tuesday, rainy weather and windy conditions didn't stop city workers from starting the removal process of the Confederate monument known as "Johnny Reb."
Crews started work at 6 a.m. Commercial Place and Main Street in downtown Norfolk were blocked off by police allowing construction workers to get to work to remove the rest of the Confederate monument.
The weather didn’t stop construction crews from getting to work as Norfolk city spokesperson Lori Crouch said.
"They are going to continue to work in the rain as long as there isn’t any thunder or lightning.”
The city made the decision to remove the rest of the monument sooner rather than later due to public safety concerns.
We’re told protestors tried to climb onto the monument in order to spray paint graffiti. This being after the "Johnny Reb" statue was already removed.
Originally the city said the entire removal process would take up to four days, but it could be done within two. Roads around Commercial Place will be closed to make room for large equipment.
"They're going to be working, we anticipate until 6 this evening to try and get as much of it down as possible and we're being told by the contractor that it should take about two days,” said Crouch.
Everything except the three steps leading up to the monument will be removed.
The ultimate fate of the monument is still undecided. Norfolk will hold a public hearing on July 7 to help decide on its relocation, and also observe the required 30-day period to receive further comment on these matters prior to rendering a final decision.
Some city council members have expressed a desire to move it to Elmwood Cemetery off of E. Princess Anne Road.