CPD investigating monument vandalism, city continuing work on racial inclusion

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CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The Charleston Police Department is cleaning up after they say a confederate monument in White Point Gardens was vandalized.

The monument, which has been a popular target of vandalism, had the letters “B-L-M” sprayed in red spray paint across the front. Since last summer, city and community leaders have been working to decide the best future for similar monuments across the city. Leaders say change will take a joint effort.

“The work and the solutions really should be coming from folks in the community,” says Charleston City Councilman Jason Sakran.

A multi-step review of monuments and historical aspects continuing on, leaders are taking all facets into account for the strongest unified step forward.

“Once you start the process, it really depends on the political will of the leaders of a community,” says Dr. Adam Domby, an assistant professor at the College of Charleston.

A goal set last summer, to address inclusion, equity and racial conciliation in the City of Charleston. Councilman Sakran co-chairs the committee working to make improvements.

“The mayor’s goal of this is to really start the conversation around inclusion and equity,” says Councilman Sakran.

Turning over a new leaf, taking inspiration from neighboring cities removing monuments after months of civil unrest.

“What are the best practices for evaluating and assessing monuments and then how to prioritize the creation of new monuments,” says Amber Johnson who is overseeing the initiative for the city.

Leaders are stressing the best outcome doesn’t happen over night. Dr. Domby from the College of Charleston says inclusion of all involved parties is an important benchmark.

“I think that it’s important to remember that having a process is a really important step,” says Dr. Domby. “They next step is who gets included.”

When the decision comes, likely in months, Domby says leaders have to prepare for backlash of their decisions.

“There’s no sort of solution that everyone leaves happy,” says Dr. Domby. “You’re either going to anger those people who want to remove these monuments or you’re going to leave those who want to remove them unsatisfied.”

Councilman Sakran says interim reports on findings were delivered last week with a final recommendations expected to come some time in the spring. The Charleston Police Department is continuing to investigate Saturday’s vandalism.

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