The city of Mobile removed a Confederate monument from downtown overnight following days of protest in Mobile and nationwide over police brutality and systemic racism.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson said he ordered the statue removed from its prominent location in downtown Mobile overnight.
“Moving this statue will not change the past,” Stimpson said in a statement on Twitter. “It is about removing a potential distraction so we may focus clearly on the future of our city. That conversation, and the mission to create One Mobile, continues today.”
On June 4, 2020, I ordered that the statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes be moved from its location at the intersection of Government and Royal streets in downtown Mobile.
— Mayor Sandy Stimpson (@MayorStimpson) June 5, 2020
The 120-year-old statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes, a Confederate Navy admiral, is the second Confederate monument removed in Alabama since protests gripped the nation over the police killing of an unarmed black man, George Floyd, in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
“To be clear: This decision is not about Raphael Semmes, it is not about a monument and it is not an attempt to rewrite history,” Stimpson said.
Stimpson said the statue has been placed in a secure location.
Last week, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin ordered a Confederate monument in Linn Park removed. That statue had been at the center of a years-long legal battle between the city of Birmingham and the Alabama Legislature, and Attorney General Steve Marshall has since sued the city a second time seeking a $25,000 fine for removing the monument.
It is likely that Mobile will also face a similar fine, but in a statement to APR Friday, a spokesperson for the attorney general said there are “conflicting reports” about the nature of the removal of the Confederate statue in Mobile.
“There have been conflicting reports concerning the circumstances surrounding the removal of the historic Admiral Semmes statue from downtown Mobile. The Attorney General is presently gathering more facts to make a determination of whether the law has been violated,” the spokesperson said in a statement. “If the Attorney General finds that a violation of the law has occurred, he will take appropriate steps to enforce it.”