Story at a glance
- Louisville authorizes the removal of a Confederate statue amid national protests.
- This comes as tensions between protesters and police rise both nationally and in Louisville.
In Louisville, Ky., a Confederate monument depicting officer John Breckinridge Castleman was removed Monday following a national outcry to topple statues across the U.S. that reinforce its history of slavery and systemic oppression of black Americans.
The Associated Press reports that Mayor Greg Fischer (D) said work began at 6 a.m. Monday to remove the memorial from Cherokee Triangle following a Jefferson Circuit Court ruling allowing the city to take it down.
Fischer said it is likely to be moved to Castleman’s private grave rather than on public property. Similarly, Dearborn, Mich., has elected to do the same with a depiction of its controversial former Mayor Orville Hubbard.
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The removal of Castleman’s statue follows 11 days and nights of protests condemning the deaths of Breonna Taylor, 26, and David McAtee, 53, two black Americans who were shot and killed by police in Louisville recently.
"Too many people are suffering today because the promises of justice and equality enshrined in our Constitution are unfulfilled by a society that devalues African American lives and denies African Americans justice, opportunity and equity,” Fischer said. “That’s got to change. People want and deserve action. We need a transformation.”
This follows a series of Confederate monuments and statues being taken down amid national protests against police brutality and American racism.
Tensions are also rising between the mayor’s office and the Louisville Police Department. Last week, multiple officers walked out on Fischer as he addressed them, reportedly feeling unsupported by Fischer’s administration.
Simultaneously, members of the Kentucky Alliance against Racist and Political Repression are demandinf that Fischer fire the officers who shot and killed Taylor. An LGBTQ+ advocacy organization, the Fairness Campaign, has condemned the mayor's actions and recalled their endorsement following instances of police violence in protests.
"We deeply regret our previous support of a mayor who would allow a militarized police force to gas his own city and who refused to act after irrefutable, repeated evidence that his law enforcement was out of control," the Fairness Campaign wrote in a letter per the Courier-Journal.
READ MORE ABOUT THE GEORGE FLOYD PROTESTS