Group Turns Alabama Confederate Monument Into Toilet After Ransom Not Paid
A group calling itself White Lies Matter seemingly followed through with threats to turn a Confederate monument into a toilet after its ransom demands were not met.
The Jefferson Davis Memorial Chair was stolen from Old Live Oak Cemetery in Selma, Alabama earlier this month, after which White Lies Matter stated that it would return the chair to the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) if the organisation agreed to hang a banner outside its headquarters in Richmond, Virginia.
If it didn’t, the group warned, the chair would be immediately turned into a toilet. Considering it is valued at $500,000, carved out of stone and weighs hundreds of pounds, the chair certainly makes a grand place to do your business.
In emails sent to AL.com, White Lies Matter said the banner bore a quote from Assata Shakur, a Black Liberation Army activist wanted by the FBI for the murder of a New Jersey state trooper, which read, ‘The rulers of this country have always considered their property more important than our lives.’
The group said it had delivered the banner to the UDC and that it had to hang it on the building for 24 hours. If the demands were met, White Lies Matter would not only ‘return the chair intact’, but also ‘clean it to boot’.
When the UDC did not meet the requirements, the chair thieves released a statement to say it had ‘decided to move forward prematurely with the alteration of the chair’.
They said the decision came as the UDC gave the group ‘every indication that they had no intention of hanging the banner, even going as far as declaring our demands, “fake news”,’ and said the chair would be returned ‘immediately’ after it was used as a toilet.
The statement was reportedly accompanied by photos of an unidentified man who was dressed as a Union civil war soldier and appeared to use the monument as a toilet. The group said that the chair would not be delivered back to the cemetery, and that instead it would contact the UDC with ‘coordinates indicating where the chair is located’, AL.com reports.
Speaking to The Associated Press, UDC member Patricia Godwin said the chair was donated more than 100 years ago and sat alongside other Confederate monuments in a private section of the Old Live Oak Cemetery. Two days before White Lies Matter addressed the theft, the UDC ran an advert in the local paper seeking the chair’s return.
Godwin commented, ‘They need to return the chair. It’s grand theft.’
After receiving a tip about the chair’s whereabouts, the New Orleans police found it ‘seemingly undamaged’. Two people have been arrested in connection with the theft and police were seeking a third, The New York Times reports, though the suspects have reportedly denied involvement with White Lies Matter.
All three of the suspects face charges in New Orleans of possession of stolen property, and Michael Jackson, the district attorney in Dallas County, said the three would also face charges of extortion and theft in Selma.
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