UPDATE: Robert E. Lee monument toppled in downtown Roanoke overnight; officials believe damaged intentionally

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UPDATE 10:45 a.m.: City officials and law enforcement are searching for information after a police officer came across a toppled Robert E. Lee monument in downtown Roanoke late Wednesday night.

According to the city’s news release on Thursday, July 23, a Roanoke police officer was driving around the 200 block of Church Avenue SW just before midnight on Wednesday, July 22, when he noticed the monument lying on its side and broken in two.

“It is an unfortunate incident, but this will not deter us from going through the legal process to remove the monument,” said Mayor Sherman Lea. “We have a public hearing scheduled for the second Council meeting in August to allow citizens to give their input on this matter, and we will proceed based upon the outcome of the public hearing.”

Officials say the preliminary investigation and the evidence indicate the monument was damaged intentionally. 

“It is unfortunate that this has occurred in light of the Council having initiated the process provided in State Code to facilitate the lawful removal and relocation of the monument. I am certain the Council will proceed with the process and render a final decision on the fate of the monument,” said Roanoke City Manager Bob Cowell. “City crews have removed the damaged monument and it will remain in storage until further action is warranted based upon the Council decision. The Roanoke Police Department has initiated an investigation into this act of vandalism and it will be addressed in accordance with applicable state law.”

No arrests have been made at this time as part of this ongoing investigation.

If you have any information about this incident, call (540) 344-8500 or send a text to 274637, but please begin the text with “RoanokePD” to ensure it’s properly sent. Authorities say both calls and texts can remain anonymous.

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — A statue memorializing Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was found knocked over Thursday morning in downtown Roanoke.

Roanoke City Council voted earlier this month to approve a resolution to express intent to remove the Church Avenue statue. The council also scheduled a public hearing for Aug. 17 so Roanoke residents can voice their concerns over the removal of the monument.

The monument was removed by city workers at 8:47 a.m. Thursday. Workers at the scene said they didn’t know where they were taking it.

WFXR News has reached out to the Roanoke Police Department to learn more about this incident.

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