Photo courtesy of Murfreesboro Police
An investigation is underway into the late Tuesday night vandalism of a Confederate statue on Murfreesboro’s public square.
The statue, which serves as a memorial for Confederate solders who died in battles around Rutherford County, is located on the square next to the old courthouse. The words “murderer,” “coward” and “Fort Pillow” were blazoned across it in spray paint.
“Fort Pillow” is a reference to the Battle of Fort Pillow, commonly known as the Fort Pillow Massacre, which was fought on April 12, 1864, in Henning, Tennessee. This battle resulted in the heinous massacre of African American Union soldiers and their white officers while attempting surrender.
Though no official report has been released, Murfreesboro Police did confirm that the suspect ran from the area after the act. News Channel 5 reports that witnesses described the suspect as a white male, and Murfreesboro Police believe him to have worn a “tan trench coat,” according to their Twitter.
Police received a call at 10:23 Tuesday night about an individual, in a light colored trench coat, spray painting a Confederate Statue at the Historic downtown RuCo Courthouse.. The damage was documented and the case is under investigation. If you have info call (615) 893-1311. pic.twitter.com/aFMENqOQhY
— PIO (@MboroPoliceDept) March 13, 2019
Crews needed to sandblast the statue to remove the paint.
The Rutherford County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed that they will be taking over the case, as the statue rests on county property.
The long history of Confederate representation in Rutherford County remains a point of contention for many residents, with some claiming their memory as heritage and others seeing depictions as racist cruelty. A prominent reminder is that of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and early leader of the Klu Klux Klan, who the controversial Forrest Hall on MTSU’s campus is named for. Forrest Hall has been the cause of many protests and has been vandalized by spray paint as well. MTSU officials, including President Sidney McPhee, petitioned the Tennessee Historical Commission to have the name changed last year but were eventually denied.
Anyone with any information regarding the event is urged to call Murfreesboro Police at (615) 893 1311.
This story is developing.
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