Manatee Co. Confederate monument breaks into 3 pieces during move

Surveillance images show crews preparing to move the monument and then the monument after it breaks.

BRADENTON, Fla. (WFLA) – A controversial Confederate monument in Bradenton was removed under cover of darkness, but in the process, it broke.

The Confederate memorial that called Bradenton home for 93 years was removed in the middle of the night.

The county paid $12,700 to bring in a removal crew, but the monument toppled over and broke.

Turns out, officials say the monument was a safety hazard because the obelisk wasn’t properly attached to the base and it was an accident waiting to happen.

“That would’ve been catastrophic. If someone would’ve pushed or pulled in the wrong direction, it would’ve come down,” said County Administrator Ed Hunzeker.

It’s now in three pieces, but officials say it will be easy to fix. They felt they needed to do this in the middle of the night to avoid crowds.

“We did that in order to avoid traffic. It’s a large monument, it would’ve disrupted traffic,” explained Hunzeker.

It’s now in a secure location and the county commission will soon hold public comment to find a more suitable home.

“I think it brought a lot of ignorance. It brought a lot of ignorance, so I don’t miss it at all,” said Joshua Lilly, who supported its removal.

“It’s time for it to go. America is changing and it’s time to replace it with something that represents everybody. Not just a fraction of people and some bad feelings from the past,” said another man.

Barbara Hemingway, with America First Team Manatee, feels commissioners did not have the legal authority to quickly approve this removal. She is dismayed and disheartened by this overnight removal.

“They caved to the threats of an opposition group and its not gonna stop there,” said Hemingway.

She thinks the statue should’ve stayed put.

“Ninety-three years, this Confederate veterans monument has stood here, on these grounds for 93 years, why now?” Hemingway said. “They want to call it a symbol of racism, white supremacy. It’s history, folks, and once you erase history, you can no longer learn from history.”

The removal was paid for by taxpayer money, but the county is still collecting donations to help offset the costs.

Hunzeker is looking forward to moving on from this subject.

“There are so many social issues in the county that we should be focusing on and not just one monument that’s 100 years old,” said Hunzeker.

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Check this list of Confederate monuments in Tampa Bay area:

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