Confederate statue outside Chatham County courthouse removed

PITTSBORO, N.C. (WTVD) -- After more than a century, a long-debated Confederate monument outside the Chatham County historic courthouse is no longer standing.

RELATED | Judge rules Confederate statue in Pittsboro can come down

Crews dismantled the monument, including the statue and pedestal, on Tuesday. The items will be transported to a safe, undisclosed location where they will be preserved until the Winnie Davis Chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) finds a more appropriate place to place them.

The county calls the relocation "a respectful removal." The courthouse where the statue was located is at the intersection of Highway 64 Business and US 15-501.

"The last several months have been a painful time for Chatham County. We've experienced high emotions, division and even violence which have impacted residents, businesses and the overall feel of our community," said Chatham County Board of Commissioners Chair Mike Dasher in a statement sent to media outlets. "What's clear now is that the overwhelming majority of our residents are eager to move forward."

The work began around 11 p.m. with supporters and detractors on hand. The statue was down around 1:30 a.m. The final piece of the stone base was taken down around 5 a.m.

Most watching the removal wouldn't talk on camera, although a supporter of the statute told ABC11 "this is not over."

The North Carolina Divison of the Sons of Confederate Veterans released a statement on Wednesday morning, saying they were "outraged at the latest disturbing action of the Chatham County Board of Commissioners." The group says the county must obtain the approval of the State Historical Commission to move the memorial, which the group says they haven't gotten.

"Like a thief in the night, under cover of darkness, the Chatham County Confederate Soldiers Memorial has been illegally removed," they said.

This past weekend, 11 people were charged in a brawl that happened at the statue.

RELATED | 11 arrested in brawl near Confederate statue in Pittsboro
The statue went up in 1907.

RELATED | Man with Confederate ancestors says statue should be moved from Pittsboro

In October, three people were arrested during a protest of the highly-contested statue.

"To say it's heritage not hate - is again yet a poor excuse. It's a false dichotomy. It's both. Your ancestors could have been fighting for both their land and hate. It's not one or the other," said Noor Mansoor, who opposes the statue.

Mansoor, angered by the presence of Confederate flags, parked and got out of his car to confront statue supporters.

"Sad and disappointed and kind of heartbroken. Because it's just a travesty of justice really," said Ryan Barnett, who supports the statue.

Barnett was part of a small group of people waving Confederate flags for hours Wednesday afternoon where the statue had been placed.

According to a Chatham County spokesperson, the county spent about $44,000 to remove the statue, and will pay an additional $300 a month for the statue to be stored in Greensboro until the Winnie Davis chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy claims the statue.

The spokesperson added they have spent more than $140,000 related to security measures in response to a series of protests following the Board of Commissioners vote to remove the statue in August.

While the statue is currently down, UDC continues their lawsuit against Chatham County. Chatham County's motion to dismiss the lawsuit is set to be heard on Dec. 2.
Copyright © 2021 WTVD-TV. All Rights Reserved.