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Pasquotank: Vandals damaged monument

081817monumentdamage

Chips are seen in the base of the Confederate monument that stands in the park next to the Pasquotank County Courthouse, Thursday. County officials say the chips were caused by vandals throwing concrete at the monument.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Friday, August 18, 2017

Pasquotank County has filed an insurance claim for damages to the Confederate monument next to the courthouse — damages that one county commissioner described Thursday as vandalism.

The vandalism to the monument apparently happened three months ago, long before the current debate over whether Confederate monuments should continue to be in public squares. The debate began following last weekend’s deadly confrontations at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.

The damage to the monument involved large chip-like marks, mostly on the lower front step-like part of the structure, according to the insurance claim the county filed with the N.C. Association of County Commissioners Liability and Property Pool. 

The damage was caused, the claim states, by someone removing chunks of concrete from the circular curb-like barrier that surrounds the monument and throwing them at the structure. Numerous photographs submitted with the county’s claim show the damage.

The damage was first reported about 6:30 a.m. on May 19, the insurance claim states. A report was filed with the Elizabeth City Police Department, the claim states.

No one from the county said the monument had been targeted by vandals, however, until Commissioner Bill Sterritt mentioned it during a meeting of the Elizabeth City Downtown, Inc. Board of Directors on Thursday. Sterritt, who gave the ECDI board a brief history of how the monument came to be erected in 1911, said there was “some damage” to the monument but he didn’t elaborate.

Asked if Elizabeth City police were investigating the incident, Sgt. Jamie Judge said in an email Thursday that there “was no damage to the monument at all.”  

”The small concrete edging around it that is already broken had a couple of pieces that were moved near the bushes,” Judge said. “There was no damage done at all.”

Judge did not respond to the question about whether police are investigating.

Sterritt, who has opposed removing the Confederate monument from its current site, told EDCI board members the monument would be a topic of discussion at the meeting of the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Community Relations Commission Thursday evening.

"They are interested in what's going on with community relations and so forth. So, there might be a movement by them to help out in this regard," Sterritt said, referring to the Community Relations Commission.

Sterritt noted that the Pasquotank branch of the NAACP plans to ask the county Board of Commissioners on Monday to remove the monument. After Monday’s commissioners meeting, Sterritt said he’d like for the Community Relations Commission, which he serves on, to meet with the local civil rights organization to discuss what, if anything, should be done with the monument. 

"I can't see it, wherever it is, being any harm,” Sterritt said, referring to the monument. “Maybe it would be better not to be on state property (or) county property. Maybe it would be better at Museum of the Albemarle or whatever. ... We’ll just see what takes place."

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