NC governor orders removal of Confederate statues at state Capitol

Crews in Raleigh remove a statue of Henry Lawson Wyatt, the first North Carolinian killed in battle in the Civil War.

(CNN)North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper ordered Saturday that all Confederate monuments on Capitol grounds be removed to protect public safety.

In a statement released by his office and published to Twitter, Cooper said "monuments to white supremacy don't belong in places of allegiance."
On Friday, a protester climbed a statue on a Confederate monument at the state Capitol, wrapped a strap around its neck and pulled it down, according to video from CNN affiliate WRAL. A second statue on the other side of the monument was also pulled down. Protesters then marched down the street and hung both statues from a light post on the street, WRAL reported.
      "I am concerned about the dangerous efforts to pull down and carry off large, heavy statues and the strong potential for violent clashes at the site," Cooper said in his statement. "Monuments to white supremacy don't belong in places of allegiance, and it's past time that these painful memorials be moved in a legal, safe way," he went on.
        Protesters hang a figure pulled from the Confederate monument at North Carolina's State Capitol Friday.
        The statement said monuments being removed included the remainder of the North Carolina Confederate monument, the monument to the Women of the Confederacy, and the figure of Henry Lawson Wyatt.
          Cooper's sentiments on Confederate monuments are not new. In 2017, he called for Confederate monuments on state Capitol grounds to be relocated to museums or related historical sites where they could be viewed in context, according to the statement.
          His call came after a man drove his car into a crowd of counterprotesters in Charlottesville, in August 2017, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer. The counterprotesters had gathered in response to a demonstration against the city's decision to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
          Protesters and some city leaders have started removing confederate statues across the United States in the wake of the death of George Floyd.
            Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man, died on May 25 in Minneapolis. While being arrested, Floyd was held down by a Minneapolis police officer's knee on his neck for more than eight minutes. He was pronounced dead shortly afterward.
            His death, which was captured on video, sparked widespread anti-racism protests across the US, with people calling for an end to police brutality against people of color.