City cleans, community reacts to Confederate statue vandalism

UNION CITY, Tenn. — City officials investigate and begin cleaning up a Civil War statue after it’s covered in graffiti.

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“We’re hoping this is a pretty quick process, but if it’s not, we’ll keep going until we get it all off,” Union City Parks and Recreation assistant director Robin Francis said.

Francis said someone defaced this Confederate statue at Kiwanis Park either late Saturday night or early Sunday morning.

The person or people used black spray paint to cover writing on parts of the statue, wrote ‘black lives matter’ on different parts, along with the word ‘hate’ on the back of the statue.

“Spray paint is designed to dry quickly. Granite is porous, so it’s soaked in quite a bit. That’s why it may take several times in doing this to let it soak in as well,” Francis said.

A crew from parks and rec started clean up Monday morning.

“We contacted monument companies this morning and discussed with them how they usually get off any kind of paint or harsh adhesive,” Francis said.

They’re mostly using paint remover.

Francis said while it’s not the first time someone has vandalized something in a park in Union City, it’s the first time someone has vandalized the confederate statue.

“We’re used to vandalism and graffiti in different places, whether it be like this on a monument, we have some in restrooms, we have some on a ball field, and different facilities like that,” Francis said.

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“I understand if you don’t like statues being there that represent discrimination, but I think you should have them taken down, perhaps put in a museum for historical purposes,” Tina Moore said.

Moore works in Union City.

Several residents say black lives do matter, but they disagree with this method of protest.

“I think we’re better than that, and it shouldn’t be tolerated at all,” Moore said.

This vandalism comes after protesters gathered in front of Abernathy’s Harley-Davidson in response to the owner, Russell Abernathy, who allegedly made questionable Facebook posts.

“From what I’ve seen, somebody really opened their mouth and said something they shouldn’t have. It’s too bad if it’s going to cost them their livelihood,” Moore said.

Many residents who didn’t feel comfortable speaking on camera say they’re all for the first amendment rights of free speech and peaceful gathering, but believe vandalism is the wrong way to make a statement.

Moore hopes things calm down in the community.

“People have different views and different ideas. I think you should try to do your best to get along, and love each other as best you can, be kind to one another,” Moore said.

If you have any information on the vandalism, call the Union City Police Department at (731)-885-1515.

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