County pulls Bradenton Confederate monument down overnight

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A monument honoring Confederate soldiers has been removed from the grounds of a public building in Manatee County.

County spokesman Nick Azzara says the Confederate war veteran memorial was taken off the grounds of the county courthouse in Bradenton on Thursday morning. Only the slab where the monument stood remained in place.

The county commission voted 4 to 3 on Tuesday to put the monument in temporary storage while exploring a new home for it. The vote followed a protest by hundreds of people, many calling for the removal of the monument.

During the process of removing the monument, Azzara said, crews discovered the 22-foot, 8.5-ton granite obelisk was “an even greater public safety risk than suspected.”

As the crane began to lift the monument, “it became evident that the spire was not completely attached to the base of the monument,” he explained.

Surveillance video shared by the county shows the spire toppling to the ground, splitting into two pieces.

“The shaft's easy separation from the base was a sign that the monument was a potential hazard before the move began and could have toppled in a strong storm or if it had been pushed or pulled at the right point,” Azzara continued.

"We took every safety precaution to respectfully move this to a safe location," added Property Management Director Charlie Bishop, whose department worked with a local contractor that has extensive experience moving heavy objects. "Thankfully no one was hurt when the spire came down. We're confident that it can be fully repaired and safely placed in a permanent location once the location is determined."

The monument was taken to a secure, undisclosed location in the county.

Earlier this month, Hillsborough County commissioners said a Confederate monument would stay put in Tampa unless private funds were raised to move it. Donations poured in, including a promise from the three major sports teams to dedicate funds to move the monument.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.