PORTSMOUTH, VA–Protesters in Virginia gathered at the Portsmouth Confederate monument on Wednesday, June 10, and beheaded four Confederate statues, including tearing one down with a tow rope. One of the demonstrators was hit in the head by the falling monument and sent to the hospital.
Protesters started spray painting “Remove the Stain” and “BLM” in the afternoon after two Portsmouth NAACP leaders James Boyd and Louie Gibbs were arrested by the police on trespassing charges and released 30 minutes later.
Protesters walked for Black Justice March in Suffolk at around 6:30 p.m. with police officers and sheriff’s deputies walking alongside them. When protesters gathered at the Confederate monument, they began to climb on the statues, remove pieces from the monument, and set fire on a flag that was tied to the monument.
According to Japharii McSmithers, the president of BlackLivesMatter757, a man who was believed to be in his 30s was directly hit by the falling statue at around 9:15 p.m. Protesters took a knee and prayed for the man before the authorities mandated them to leave the area. Gibbs asked them to pick up trash as well as clear the place.
Portsmouth City Council held a virtual meeting earlier in the day and decided to have a public hearing in July to discuss the removal of the monument. The removal has been talked for years.
Former Councilman Mark Whitaker said the monument represents a symbol of white supremacist ideology and he suggested removing it during the council meeting in June 2015.