On Friday night, a crowd gathered around the statue of Albert Pike, who briefly commanded Confederate regiments during the Civil War. Using ropes, the protesters toppled the statue and then sprayed fluid on it and set it on fire.
D.C. police did not intervene with the toppling of the statue, nor did they interact with protesters. They did, however, later put out the fire.
And protesters just toppled the Albert Pike statue in DC pic.twitter.com/gEzJm0OYjd
— Perry Stein (@PerryStein) June 20, 2020
In a tweet, Trump accused D.C. police of abdicating their duties and called for the protesters to be arrested. He also tagged D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser.
“The D.C. Police are not doing their job as they watch a statue be ripped down & burn. These people should be immediately arrested. A disgrace to our Country! @MayorBowser,” he tweeted.
As of this writing, there do not appear to have been any arrests made in connection with the toppling of the statue.
The statue had stood since 1901, having been sculpted by Gaetano Trentanove.
According to a June 11 Al Jazeera report, across the country there are (or were, considering that many have been torn down or removed since the report’s publication) 771 statues of Confederate fighters across the United States. Pike’s statue, however, was the only monument to a Confederate fighter in Washington, D.C.
Pike’s career as a Confederate general was brief and unremarkable. He commanded for only a few months, and in his most significant action, suffered a resounding defeat. He later went on to make a name for himself as a poet, a lawyer who advocated for the rights of Native Americans, and a Freemason.
In 2017, as Curbed reported at the time, Eleanor Holmes Norton — D.C.’s Congressional delegate — proposed that the statue be removed.
“Pike was a Confederate general who served dishonorably and was forced to resign in disgrace… He certainly has no claim to be memorialized in the nation’s capital,” she said.
Norton also noted that the Freemasons, who had originally raised the money for the statue a century before, were supportive of removing the statue.
Norton’s request to have the statue moved was unsuccessful.
What will happen to Pike’s statue, going forward, remains unclear, as of this writing. In at least two cases, as previously reported by The Inquisitr, statues of individuals with problematic pasts, and which have been targeted by protests, are being moved to museums. In Bristol, England, protesters toppled a statue of a slave trader and threw it into the city’s harbor; it was later dredged up with a view toward putting it in a museum. And in Mobile, Alabama, the city removed a Confederate statue that still stood, though having been vandalized, and plan to put it in a museum as well.