Lee statue spraypainted

NOLAN STOUT/THE DAILY PROGRESS

The base of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was covered by Charlottesville officials on Friday after "this is racist" and "IMPEACH TRUMP" were spraypainted on it Thursday night. 

The downtown statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee has been vandalized again.

Someone painted “this is racist” on the Downtown Mall side of the statue’s base on Thursday night. The other side was tagged with “IMPEACH TRUMP.”

Charlottesville officials placed tarps over the graffiti because city offices were closed Friday and no one was available to clean them.

City spokesman Brian Wheeler said parks and recreation staff will remove the graffiti on Monday and that it could be “time consuming.”

The Lee statue, and another of Confederate Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, have been the target of vandalism in the past few months.

In September, someone tagged the statues with “1619” graffiti, referencing the year the first ship carrying enslaved Africans arrived in Virginia.

In October, the statues appeared to have been damaged in two separate incidents; several figures on the bases appeared to have been gouged.

Earlier this month, city officials removed an amateur tripwire and camera, placed in an apparent effort to catch potential future vandals of the Jackson statue.

A Charlottesville Police Department spokesman has said that a $1,285 reward was donated by a citizen to find the perpetrator of the vandalism.

The vandalism cases remain under investigation. Anyone with information about the incidents is asked to call Crime Stoppers at (434) 977-4000.

The city recently lost a lawsuit about 2017 votes to remove the statues, but plans to appeal the decision.

After the murder of Heather Heyer after the Unite the Right rally in August 2017, the city opted to cover the statues in tarps, but two men repeatedly attempted to remove them. The men were sentenced in April.

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