Birmingham Mayor William Bell has had a Civil War statue covered with a wooden barrier in defiance of a state law prohibiting cities from mishandling state monuments. The state is now suing him and asking the judge to fine the city $25,000 a day for every day it is covered up. The Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument, a 52-foot structure, was ordered covered on the lower section that honors Confederate soldiers.
In May, Governor Kay Ivey of Alabama signed the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act , which forbids cities to touch historical monuments that had been erected at least forty years ago. This was in anticipation of local officials who would try to remove or deface those said monuments.
Bell, the black mayor of Birmingham, who suffers from PTSD syndrome for slavery that he never experienced, said:
“It’s my desire to one, no longer to allow this statue to be seen by the public until such time we can tell the full story of slavery, the full story of what the Confederacy really meant.”
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Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed the lawsuit against Bell and the city of Birmingham released the following statement:
“In accordance with the law, my office has determined that by affixing tarps and placing plywood around the Linn Park Memorial such that it is hidden from view, the Defendants have ‘altered’ or ‘otherwise disturbed’ the memorial in violation of the letter and spirit of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. The City of Birmingham does not have the right to violate the law and leaves my office with no choice but to file suit.”
That case was assigned to Jefferson County, AL Circuit Court Judge Michael Graffeo according to AL.com.
As of Friday afternoon, the makeshift structure surrounding the monument was still standing, and two Birmingham Police Department vehicles were stationed on the street in front of it.
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