TUSKEGEE, Ala. (WRBL) – Johnny Ford, former Tuskegee mayor and current city councilman, took a chainsaw to a Confederate monument that has been standing in Tuskegee for 115 years. Ford made the decision after the voters of his district voted to remove the statue last week. However, the removal of the statue was not approved by local law enforcement.
“If they can do it in the nation’s capital, we can do it here in Tuskegee, Alabama. A particular county that is 95% African American,” said Ford.
Ford attempted to remove the statue but failed to do so because of faulty machinery, only taking off the soldier’s foot.
The statue was placed in the middle of the city in 1906 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to commemorate the confederate soldiers from Macon County, Alabama. Now, many citizens consider the statue a sign of oppression for black Americans.
Ford held a press conference in front of the statue on July 8, 2021. He said Macon County and the United Daughters of the Confederacy have been discussing the removal of the statue for over a year however, no action has taken place. He believes the statue stands in defense of slavery and represents the south that encouraged slavery decades ago.
“I took the action because my people voted in a democratic process that they wanted this statue removed and so I am simply acting on behalf of my people,” said Ford.
Ford said the messages he hopes his actions send is to respect police officers, that he is not afraid of any repercussions that his actions may bring and don’t give up if your first attempt fails.
Not everyone is pleased with Ford’s actions. David Clinkscales, a Tuskegee native, was shocked to learn about Ford’s actions.
“If you want to remove it, do it properly. Coming out here and defacing this monument, cutting it, painting, whatever methods you all take is wrong,” said Clinkscales.
Clinkscales said he understands that the monument represents a lot of heartache for people, but does not agree with defacing someone else’s property. He believes there is a better way to handle the situation by talking to those who own it.
Macon County Sheriff, Andre’ Brunson, stopped Ford while he was defacing the property. He said he understands why citizens want it removed, but believes it should be done according to the law.
According to Brunson, Ford will be facing charges for his actions however, they have yet to be determined.
“At least, it’s destruction of property, you can’t destroy anybody’s property. That’s the least but there could be more charges,” said Brunson.
Ford said he is okay with facing charges if those are the consequences of his actions and has no intention of stopping until the statue is taken down.