Nathan Bedford Forrest Statue Vandalized

(Memphis) Vandals left their mark on a controversial statue in the heart of the city’s medical district.

The Nathan Bedford Forrest statue, located off Union Avenue, has been in the middle of a heated battle since the city removed a marker and renamed the park.

A city employee had his hands full cleaning up the statue of Confederate General Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Late Thursday night or early Friday, someone poured bright red paint on the side and sprawled graffiti on it.

“It’s just a shame they don’t have anything better to do or have more respect for historical items or city property or other people’s property,” said Lee Millar, Sons of Confederate Veterans.

Millar’s group put up the statue in 1904 and it’s listed among the most famous of Civil War monuments.

However, it has also been at the center of controversy for years because of Forrest’s ties to the Ku Klux Klan.

It was also a topic of concern recently when the city voted to rename all of the Civil War parks.

Still, some say this isn’t the way to handle the situation.

“I’m not a fan of Nathan Bedford Forrest but I’m not a fan of people defacing public property, also,” said Harvey Smith of Memphis.

Millar says there has been vandalism over the years that’s why there’s a sealant on the statue so graffiti is easier to wash off.

He says now they’re considering partnering with either the city or nearby University of Tennessee to put surveillance cameras there.

He thinks that might deter vandalism and help them catch guilty culprits.

“We’ve asked the UT police just to keep a closer eye on the statue and the grounds so it’s better protected for the citizens,” said Millar.

If you’re caught defacing this statue, it’s possible you could be charged with more than just vandalism.

It’s also the burial site of Forrest and his wife, and the penalty for damaging a grave site is stiffer.