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Man says he tipped over Lee monument to prevent civil strife

July 28, 2020 GMT

ROANOKE, Va. (AP) — A 70-year-old man says he tipped over a Robert E. Lee monument in Roanoke, Virginia, in effort to prevent civil strife.

William Clay Foreman told The Roanoke Times on Monday that he feared emotions would intensify around the monument and that the monument’s defenders and detractors would clash.

Foreman was charged last week with one count of felony property damage. He was released by police and his case is pending.

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The monument to the Confederate general is a stone spire in a park. The Lee monument was already set for removal after the Roanoke City Council voted to start the process to take it down. That process includes a public hearing and was expected to take at least two months.

At his arraignment in court on Monday, Foreman said he couldn’t afford an attorney. But his income of veteran benefits and Social Security was too high for a court-appointed lawyer. A judge said he could represent himself but advised Foreman to consider finding an attorney.