Toppled statue just some of damage at Tennessee capitol after Floyd protests

Local News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — A controversial statue toppled on Saturday at the Tennessee Capitol was hauled away to an uncertain future Monday.

It was just one part of State Capitol Hill damage believed to have occurred after a peaceful protest about George Floyd’s death at Legislative Plaza Saturday.

WKRN-TV crews called Legislative Plaza scene ‘pristine’ when the late afternoon protest finished.

By 6:00 p.m. when the protest was over, state officials said a group of individuals could be seen toppling the Edward Carmack statue in from the capitol on top of the Motlow Tunnel entrance.

The heavily damaged statue did not stay down for long.

On Monday morning it was moved.

“We have a huge crane lifting about one ton of bronze into the air and moving it off the Motlow tunnel,” said James Hoobler, who is the senior curator of art and architecture for the Tennessee State Museum.

He described the the damage to Capitol Hill statue like it was an autopsy.

“When the statue was toppled it apparently popped a seam in the top of the head and the weld,” said curator Hoobler. “So there is a square part of the top of the head missing. Someone walked off with it and when it hit the granite, it also popped a seam in the right arm.”

The statue was erected not long after Carmack died in a shootout with a political rival in 1908.

Before that he was a U.S. Senator and newspaper owner who often sparred with early civil rights advocates like Ida B. Wells.

Its a guess now what happens to Carmack’s statue which was taken to a nearby state facility.

“We are moving the Edward Ward Carmack statue over to the Polk building until a determination is made on where we go from here,” said the state museum curator.

He added that graffiti was found on seven state buildings.

Other weekend damage included busted windows at the War Memorial building.

A historic marker for the capitol became a target as well.

Nashville lawmaker Jason Powell took time Sunday to help erase what was left after Saturday’s protest.

“People are more important than property,” Rep. Powell told WKRN-TV. “I removed the graffiti because I didn’t want the importance to peaceful protests over the life of George Floyd overshadowed by vandalism.”


The latest on the protests and riots following the “I Will Breathe” rally in Nashville:

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