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Confederate monuments spray-painted; petition calls for removal

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At the beginning of last week, a person was seen spray-painting Confederate monuments at the Bastrop County courthouse. A recent petition is calling for the removal of these monuments.

On Sunday, June 7, around 5 p.m., a white male acting alone was captured on security cameras spray-painting two public monuments, County Judge Paul Pape announced in a statement at the regular meeting of the Bastrop County Commissioners’ Court the following day. Someone driving by at the time witnessed the event and took photographs of the man’s vehicle, and the sheriff and district attorney are investigating the incident and intend to prosecute him, Pape added.

“Black Lives Matter is a righteous cause,” Pape said in the statement. “To see African-Americans treated with brutal disregard by those who took an oath to protect and defend all citizens’ rights under our Constitution is both sickening and disgusting. But to use that righteous cause as an excuse to deface and destroy public property is inexcusable, and it actually weakens the call for justice and respect for all.”

To take actions outside of the law gives those who are against equality a reason to object, Pape added.

“Black Lives Matter: that is the message we need to hear and acknowledge right now,” he said. “Let’s not let selfish acts of violence or destruction distract us from the issue at hand. We need to get this right. We need to get this fixed in America right now, for the sake of our democracy and for the sake of our great nation.”

Last week, a petition began on Change.org asking for the removal of Confederate monuments from Bastrop County property. The petition is directed towards Pape and the four county commissioners. As of Monday morning, at least 3,600 people had signed the petition, which can be found at www.change.org/p/take-them-down.

The monuments were established by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1910 to honor Confederate soldiers from Bastrop County and memorialize the Confederacy, the petition said. The United Daughters of the Confederacy supported white supremacy, the petition added.

“Confederate monuments were built and given places of honor in public spaces,” the petition’s description says. “These symbols of white supremacy have always been memorials to the cause of slavery and the denial of humanity to Black people. Now, they are being weaponized to rally white supremacists. We have the power to diffuse these modern-day lynch mobs by removing these statues altogether, instead of giving white supremacists a rally point.

“These monuments are a representation of the pain, affliction and oppression inflicted upon Black Americans,” the petition also said. “We are at a time in history where we should be promoting equity for all, and denouncing all forms of racism that poison our communities.”