City of Lexington shares timeline of conflict around controversial Confederate monument

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LEXINGTON, N.C. — The City of Lexington shared a timeline depicting the lead-up to the city’s decision to take legal action to get a Confederate monument removed.

The monument, located across from the county courthouse, sits on county-owned property.

In recent weeks, it has been a center of conflict as crowds in support and in protest congregate at the site.

City of Lexington is taking matters into their own hands after the Davidson County commissioners said they would not remove the Confederate statue in Lexington.

On Thursday, the city announced that the Lexington City Council will be taking legal action to remove and relocate the Confederate monument.

Clark said he’s primarily concerned about public safety. Since June 1, 13 police officers have been assigned to the activity at the monument. The chief of police says it’s putting a burden on the force.

Shortly after the announcement, the Davidson County commissioners responded with statement, stating that they do not have the legal ability to move the monument per North Carolina law.

The following timeline was compiled and written by City of Lexington:

June 1 – Subsequent to peaceful demonstrations, opposing views (Anti-Statue vs. Pro-Statue) escalate in Uptown Lexington. Causes Lexington Police Department’s presence daily at the Davidson County-owned property with the Confederate Monument. As safety concerns persist and escalate, monitoring of social media and multiple modes of communication take place among citizens, law enforcement, and City and County officials from this point forward.

June 17 – Mayor initiated Zoom call. Included in call: State House Representative, County officials, City officials, Legal Counsel and Law Enforcement from City & County agencies. Purpose of call: share concerns and explore solutions

June 25 – Joint meeting between select County and City officials canceled by Davidson County – no meeting took place

June 30 – County officials authorized use of property around the monument. County broke established protocol by authorizing use of the property without consulting with City officials

July 1 – Public Safety concerns deepen. Authorized by Lexington City Manager, Lexington Police Chief contacts County Manager regarding seriousness of the matter. Lexington Police Chief facilitated a meeting that included law enforcement representatives from both agencies, which included images of the safety concerns

July 2 – City Manager notified County of safety concerns & Sheriff dedicates assistance. Lexington City Manager delivered official notification (via email) that Confederate Monument poses threat to public safety and requests Davidson County officials take immediate action under NCGS 100-2.1(c)(3). Davidson County Sheriff’s Office begins dedicating law enforcement assistance (at their discretion)

July 7 – Lexington City Manager notified County Manager that City officials would be in attendance at the July 9 Davidson County meeting

July 8 – County Manager copied on email appealing to leadership and the seriousness of the state of affairs including financial concern

July 9 – Lexington City Manager spoke during public address at the Davidson County Board of Commissioners meeting. Message conveyed: seriousness of public safety threat, advocate for business community already struggling from COVID-19, concern for sales tax dollars being lost to sustain City and County services due to a lack of patrons Uptown Lexington, extreme effect on workload and wellbeing of Lexington Police Officers, cost burden on taxpayers of exorbitant law enforcement overtime due to required daily presence

July 10 – Lexington City Manager sent official notification (via letter) to County. Included: recount of sequence of events and communications, expressed polarizing intensity, dangerous rhetoric and escalation at alarming rates, response to County Manager’s suggestion of a curfew, request Davidson County take immediate action to remove the Confederate Monument to restore order and protect the safety of citizens and business community

July 13 – Lexington City Council adopts Resolution No. 01-21 requesting Davidson County remove/relocate the Confederate Monument

July 24 – Lexington City Attorney sent official notification (via letter) to Davidson County and Daughters of the Confederacy: declares presence of monument in the current location detrimental to health, safety and welfare of citizens, peace and dignity of Lexington, and constitutes a public nuisance, issues deadline of August 12th to remedy, notifies failure may result in legal action, including recovery of City’s damages

Aug. 6 – Davidson County sent official notification (via letter) that City of Lexington’s request to remove/relocate the monument denied

Aug 10 – Lexington issues press release regarding August 13th press conference to announce authority given to City Attorney to protect City’s interests and safety of citizens, businesses and visitors

Aug 13 – Lexington holds press conference to inform of legal action filing against Davidson County seeking removal/relocation of Confederate Monument

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