At about 8:30 a.m. Monday, officials in Montgomery County discovered someone had vandalized a Confederate soldier statue in Rockville with the words “Black Lives Matter.”
There is no surveillance footage of that area and authorities do not know when the incident occurred, according to Rockville police spokesman Maj. Michael England. The statue is located on the grounds of the Red Brick Courthouse.
The United Daughters of the Confederacy installed the statue in 1913 to honor soldiers from Montgomery County who fought during the Civil War. An inscription on the statue reads: “To Our Heroes of Montgomery Co., Maryland, that we through life may not forget to love the thin gray line.”
On July 17, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) ordered the statue be removed. Leggett, the first African American to serve on the Montgomery County Council and be elected county executive, said he asked the county’s General Services Department to develop a plan for moving and storing the monument.
The Rockville City County hosted a meeting to gather public opinion about the statue last week, and not everyone agreed with Leggett’s decision.
Peerless Rockville, a non-profit organization that says it works to preserve information and buildings “important to Rockville’s heritage,” wrote a letter to Leggett last week saying that removing the statue would amount to “censorship of our cultural history.”
Patrick Lacefield, a spokesman for Montgomery County, said Monday that officials are working to remove the spray paint from the statue.
“The cleaning is under way,” he said. “There are challenges in cleaning it up because it’s porous granite.”