Anti-racism protesters ripped down statues of Ulysses S. Grant and Francis Scott Key in San Francisco while SWAT team officers arrested an armed man seen suspiciously recording people with his cell phone while on the roof of a building overlooking a statue of Robert E. Lee in Virginia.
In San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park along the Pacific Ocean, protesters sprayed red paint and wrote ‘slave owner’ on pedestals before using ropes to bring down the statues and drag them down grassy slopes amid cheers and applause.
The statues targeted included a bust of Ulysses Grant, who was the US president after he was the general who finally beat the Confederates and ended the Civil War.
Protesters said Grant owned slaves. He married into a slave-owning family, but had no problem fighting to end slavery.
Grant also supported the 1868 Republican platform when he won the presidency which called for allowing Black men to continue voting in the South.
Protesters ripped down the statue of Francis Scott Key, the author of America’s Star Spangled Banner, in San Francisco on Friday
Moments before, protesters were seen gathering near the statue in Golden Gate Park
St Junipero Serra statue faces the ground memorial after being vandalized with red spray paint in San Francisco
Protesters also vandalized the statue of Spanish writer Miguel De Cervantes in San Francisco
Also torn down in the San Francisco park was a statue of Francis Scott Key, who wrote the US national anthem ‘Star Spangled Banner.’ Key owned slaves.
Protesters also pulled down the statue of Spanish missionary Junipero Serra, an 18th century Roman Catholic priest who founded nine of California’s 21 Spanish missions and is credited with bringing Roman Catholicism to the Western United States.
Serra forced Native Americans to stay at those missions after they were converted or face brutal punishment. His statues have been defaced in California for several years by people who said he destroyed tribes and their culture.
Police officers responded to the park but didn’t intervene.
The crowd threw objects at the officers, but no injuries or arrests were reported, San Francisco Police spokesman Officer Adam Lobsinger said.
Meanwhile, an airport police officer has been charged with trespassing after witnesses spotted him on a roof with a handgun overlooking the Robert E. Lee memorial in downtown Richmond.
In Richmond, Virginia, SWAT teams were called to the scene after a suspicious man (above) was spotted on the roof of a building overlooking the Robert E. Lee memorial. The man, later identified as 38-year-old Riley O’Shaughnessey of Richmond, was apparently recording with his cell phone
Police say they received a call Saturday at about 6:30am to investigate a report of an armed individual on the roof of unoccupied building overlooking the memorial on the city’s famed Monument Avenue.
About an hour later, as police were preparing the enter the building, an armed man was spotted outside the building and taken into custody.
Police say 38-year-old Riley O’Shaughnessey of Richmond is an officer with the police department at Richmond International Airport outside the city.
The trespassing charge is a misdemeanor. No weapons charges were filed because he was carrying the gun lawfully, police said.
The Lee statue has been a rallying point for protesters and the scene of sometimes violent clashes. State plans to remove the statue are on hold because of an injunction barring removal while legal efforts to preserve the statue are underway.
Protesters tore down more statues across the United States.
In Seattle, pre-dawn violence erupted Saturday in a protest zone largely abandoned by police, where one person was fatally shot and another critically injured.
On the East Coast, more statues honoring Confederates who tried to break away from the United States more than 150 years ago were toppled.
In Washington, DC, and Raleigh, North Carolina, it was another night of tearing down Confederate statues.
In the nation’s capital, demonstrators toppled the 11ft statue of Albert Pike, the only statue in the city of a Confederate general.
Then they set a bonfire and stood around it in a circle as the statue burned, chanting, ‘No justice, no peace!’ and ‘No racist police!’
President Trump quickly tweeted about the toppling, calling out D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and writing: ‘The DC police are not doing their job as they watched a statue be ripped down and burn. These people should be immediately arrested. A disgrace to our Country!’
O’Shaughnessey was arrested for trespassing after he was spotted on the roof of this building
Two statues of two Confederate soldiers that were part of a larger obelisk were torn down Friday night by protesters in Raleigh, North Carolina.
Police officers initially stopped the demonstrators, but after they cleared the area, the protesters returned an finished the job. They dragged the statues down the street and strung one up by the neck from a light post.
Saturday morning, official work crews came to the North Carolina capitol to remove two more Confederate statues.
One statue was dedicated to the women of the Confederacy, and another was placed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy honoring Henry Wyatt, the first North Carolinian killed in battle in the Civil War, news outlets reported.
Governor Roy Cooper said he ordered the removal for public safety and blamed the Republican majority state General Assembly for the danger.
‘If the legislature had repealed their 2015 law that puts up legal roadblocks to removal we could have avoided the dangerous incidents of last night,’ Cooper posted on Twitter.
‘Monuments to white supremacy don’t belong in places of allegiance, and it´s past time that these painful memorials be moved in a legal, safe way.’
Cooper’s opponent for a second term in November, Republican Lieutenant Governor Dan Forest, issued a statement saying Cooper did nothing to stop the destruction of statues and was either incompetent or encouraging lawlessness.
‘It is clear that Governor Cooper is either incapable of upholding law and order, or worse, encouraging this behavior,’ Forest said.
The Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond has been a site where protesters have congregated since the May 25 police-involved killing of George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man who died in the custody of officers in Minneapolis
But several were removed at the order of North Carolina’s Democratic governor, who said he was trying to avoid violent clashes or injuries from toppling the heavy monuments erected by white supremacists that he said do not belong in places like the state capitol grounds that are for all people.
The statues are falling amid continuing anti-racism demonstrations following the May 25 police killing in Minneapolis of George Floyd, the African American man who died after a white police officers pressed his knee on his neck and whose death galvanized protesters around the globe to rally against police brutality and racism.
In Seattle, authorities were investigating what led to the shooting in the area known as CHOP, which stands for ‘Capitol Hill Occupied Protest’ zone.
It has been harshly criticized by Trump, who has tweeted about possibly sending in the military to exert control.
Police released few other details about the shooting. Two men with gunshot wounds arrived in a private vehicle at a hospital at at about 3am.
One died and the other was in critical condition, Harborview Medical Center spokesperson Susan Gregg said.