The statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee in Market Street Park was found vandalized Thursday night with “this is racist” spray-painted on one side of its base and “IMPEACH TRUMP” sprayed on the other.
Charlottesville officials have put tarps over the graffiti until Parks and Recreation staff can remove the paint Monday, Charlottesville spokesperson Brian Wheeler said. On Sunday, the tarps were found spray painted with the words “still racist.”
Charlottesville Police spokesperson Tyler Hawn said the case is under investigation and that anyone with information should call CrimeStoppers at (434) 977-4000. There is a reward for information leading to an arrest, Hawn said.
The Lee statue and the statue of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson in Court Square Park have each been tagged with graffiti several times in recent months.
In September, someone spray-painted “1619” on the Lee statue, referencing the year enslaved people from Africa were first brought to America. The incident closely followed Judge Richard Moore’s issuance of a permanent injunction to assure the Lee statue was not taken down. In separate incidents at the middle and end of October, it appeared that someone chipped at several figures on the bases of the statues.
The statues have caused much controversy in Charlottesville. In 2017, following the deadly Aug. 11 and 12 white supremacist rallies, City Council voted to shroud the statues in black tarp, but Moore ordered the removal of the tarps in February 2018.