The Denton County Sheriff’s Department is getting a lot of calls and leads, but they said they want more, as they search for the confederate monument vandals.
As of Tuesday afternoon, department spokesperson Sandi Brackeen said they’re continuing to review surveillance video from the courthouse and searching for other video from surrounding businesses.
On Monday morning at about 4:30 a.m., two people were caught on camera climbing the confederate soldier monument on the Courthouse Square lawn and using what looked like large stencils to spray paint the arch. They then ran on foot with a third person close behind.
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The results were large red letters that read “This is Racist” sprawled across the statue Monday morning.
By Tuesday afternoon, Courthouse Museum Director Peggy Riddle said a special crew had been hired to apply a baking soda wash and most of the red paint was no longer visible.
Meanwhile, controversy over the future of the statue again erupted Monday night, as protestors and residents on both sides of the issue expressed their feelings about the statue.
Long-time Denton resident Willie Hudspeth lead the charge against the statue through most of the early 2000s, but eventually dropped it due to lack of support. Now he has renewed the call for action, though, in the wake of the vandalism and the shootings in Charleston last month.
“We’re going to figure out what we have to do to get people together, and where it starts is from something small,” said Hudspeth.
Hudspeth said he would like to see the statue removed and possibly relocated still, but this time around, his focus is to open a community dialogue and push for some sort of action that best suits Denton.
One of his suggestions, he said Tuesday, would be altering the statue’s wording to better represent the change in society since the Civil War.
“Let’s do something positive, but let’s do something,” he said.
Hudspeth plans to protest at the statue this coming weekend and continue to meet with county and city leaders.
There is a plan on the other side, as well, where many said the statue is not a racist symbol or even a monument to the Confederacy, but to Denton’s soldiers who fought and died in the war.
“I’m really sick of it, sick of the way they treat the south,” said Tommy Richardson. “They fought for their homes.”
The statue was dedicated in 1918 and financed by the Daughters of the Confederacy. Since then, it has been named to several historical statuses, including the National Historic Registry.
Riddle said last month that because of those statuses, any alterations to the statue would require several levels of approval and likely come with legal challenges.
Brackeen said those statuses also could make the vandalism a felony charge if the suspects are caught. She asks anyone with information to call Denton County Crime Stoppers and said that no tip is too small on this one.