Confederate monument to Jefferson Davis tarred, feathered in Ari - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Confederate monument to Jefferson Davis tarred, feathered in Arizona

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PHOENIX (AP) - Authorities are investigating the defacement of another Confederate monument in Arizona as the country grapples with a deadly rally in Virginia by white nationalists and supremacists who opposed the removal of a statue of Gen. Robert E. Lee.

A monument to Jefferson Davis on U.S. 60 near Gold Canyon was found covered in tar and feathers on Thursday. The Arizona Department of Public Safety is investigating.

Authorities this week also found that the Confederate Troops Memorial at Wesley Bolin Memorial Plaza outside the state Capitol had been painted white. The paint has been removed.

"I think it's absolutely irresponsible and non-productive. It does absolutely nothing to promote the cause of removing symbols of hate in the state when individuals take matters into their hands and vandalize state property," said state Rep. Reginald Bolding, who is black and who has advocated for the removal of Confederate monuments on public lands.

Arizona was briefly a Confederate territory and a Confederate force occupied Tucson for a few weeks during the Civil War.

The issue of Confederate monuments has been building up for years as black leaders and others around the country have called for their removal, saying they glorify racism.

They've faced opposition from white nationalists and even President Donald Trump, who tweeted on Thursday that removing monuments was foolish.

"Sad to see the history and culture of our great country being ripped apart with the removal of our beautiful statues and monuments," Trump wrote.

In Arizona, civil rights leaders have pressured Gov. Doug Ducey to call for their removal to no avail. And in Phoenix, city leaders like the mayor have pushed to rename Robert E. Lee Street and Squaw Peak Drive, both in residential neighborhoods within city limits. Mayor Greg Stanton pushed to change city policy to allow the council to change controversial names without the support of property owners. "Squaw" is considered an offensive term for an indigenous woman.

The governor said Monday that it's not his desire "or mission to tear down any monuments or memorials."

"These acts of vandalism are not an appropriate response, and it's not how we do things in Arizona. If you have objections to a memorial, then get involved and work through the proper channels. Breaking the law and destroying property isn't the answer," Ducey said in a statement on Thursday afternoon.

A protest by white nationalists and white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend turned violent and left one woman dead after a car drove into a crowd of counter-protesters.

The driver, James Alex Fields Jr., was described as an admirer of Adolf Hitler and Nazi Germany and was arrested and charged with murder and other offenses for the killing of 32-year-old Heather Heyer.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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