CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – Despite announcing the John C. Calhoun statue in Marion Square would be removed and relocated, protesters vandalized the monument on Wednesday.
The announcement came on the 5-year anniversary of the Charleston Church Shooting.
Charleston Mayor John Tecklenburg said he will send City Council a resolution calling for the relocation of the Calhoun statue to a local museum or other academic institution.
During a speech Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Tecklenburg said the fact that Charlestonians must “reckon with Mr. Calhoun’s towering and deeply troubling legacy is a given,” but said reckoning with his memorial that continues to divide the city is not a given.
“At this point, it’s important for our citizens to know that we are taking this action only after careful consideration of the facts of Mr. Calhoun’s life, the explicit duty of care that our city assumed when it formally accepted ownership of the statue in July of 1898, and the state law known as the Heritage Act, which forbids the removal of war-related markers in South Carolina.”
Following the announcement, things began to escalate after protesters demanded the statue be removed completely and not relocated.
Protesters began to climb the monument to plaster posters around the structure, they spray painted, egged and toilet papered the statue, and shouted phrases consistent with the demand for its removal.
A spokesperson with the Charleston Police Department later announced several arrests were being made for vandalizing the statue and said the park would be closed to the public.
The park reopened at dawn.
Seven adults and two juveniles were arrested for vandalizing the monument. They have each been charged with damage to personal property.
Those arrests include:
Bridget Madison Weimer, 24
Eliot Byron Christopher, 31
John Evander White III, 25
Jessica Wilson Parks, 36
Cameron Wayne McManus, 24
Jordan Taylor Beyl, 29
Rachael Dickey, 24