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Fate of other controversial monuments in Baltimore remains uncertain

Posted at 10:08 PM, Jul 06, 2020

BALTIMORE — The debate over what to do with controversial monuments continues in the city of Baltimore, but the fate of them, including two other Christopher Columbus statues, remain uncertain.

The mayor's office declined to comment Monday about what the city will do with the statues. A city official told WMAR that the mayor will release a statement later this week addressing the issue.

On Saturday, protestors tore down and threw the one honoring the Italian explorer in Little Italy into the Inner Harbor. The incident was captured on video and viewed by millions across the country.

RELATED: Christopher Columbus statue being retrieved from Baltimore's harbor

Baltimore City Police Commissioner Michael Harrison said there is a full investigation underway to identify the people involved. He said the protesters will be held accountable.

Harrison, Baltimore City Police and city leaders received criticism from Governor Larry Hogan, state lawmakers and others for their response and handling of protesters over the weekend.

The Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) posted on twitter that the police department had strategized for weeks about what to do about the statues, but the FOP said "Saturday night that plan was revealed. Do Nothing!"

In a statement, Harrison said they had a few officers assigned to the monument while others focused on life and death investigations, but "as the number of protesters grew, it was tactically unsafe for those few officers to position themselves between the protestors and the Christopher Columbus statue in attempt to prevent vandalism and destruction."

Across the country, statues of confederate leaders and other historical figures who owned slaves have been the subject of controversy. It's something that is not new to Baltimore. In 2017, former mayor Catherine Pugh had four confederate monuments removed overnight.