Following Public Scrutiny, Hollywood Forever Cemetery Removes Confederate Monument

The monument has been subject to vandalism recently, with the word 'no' written across it in black marker.

Following the events and the aftermath of the violent Charlottesville protests, Hollywood Forever Cemetery removed a 6-foot monument of Confederate war veterans from the Pacific region.

The stone monument has stood since 1925 in a section of the famous Los Angeles graveyard where more than 30 Confederate veterans and their families are buried. The grave markers will remain.

The monument, removed around 4 a.m. Tuesday, has served as the centerpiece of Confederate memorial events for decades, with no flags allowed. It will remain on the property until its owner, the Daughters of the Confederacy, decide what to do with it.

"We received the most calls from people wanting the monument taken down," Tyler Cassity, president and co-owner of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery said. "We explained to them we were researching the legal aspects of it."

Since the cemetery's explanation, some have threatened to remove the monument on their own.

"Some people said, 'If you don't take it down, we will,'" Cassity said.

The monument has been subject to vandalism recently, with the word 'no' written across it in black marker, according to Cassity.

The cemetery's president contacted the Daughters of the Confederacy, who agreed to its removal, about the vandalism. A group spokeswoman, fearing retaliation by monument opponents, asked NBC4 not to show her face in an interview. 

"All we wanted was peace, quiet, as we had for many years," the spokeswoman said. "Cemeteries should be respected."

Hollywood Forever Cemetery plans to put the monument into storage on Wednesday.

"I understood everyone's frustration, but I really felt like it wasn't our right to remove the monument. It's kind of against what we’re supposed to be doing there, preserving history," Cassity earlier told The Los Angeles Times. "I think they made a wise decision given how quickly it escalated and what's happening right now in the country."

The decision comes after a weekend of violence in Charlottesville, where neo-Nazis, skinheads and Ku Klux Klan members decended on the city for a rally prompted by the city's decision to remove a Confederate monument. The statue at the center of the protests memorialized the Confederacy's top general, Robert E. Lee, and stood in a park since the 1920s.

Several local and state governments announced plans to remove statues and other imagery from public land, or said they would consider doing so, in the aftermath of Saturday's white nationalist rally.

President Donald Trump criticized their removal Tuesday.

"This week it's Robert E. Lee. I notice that Stonewall Jackson's coming down," Trump said during a visit to Trump Tower in New York. "I wonder, is it George Washington next week, and is it Thomas Jefferson the week after? You know you really do have to ask yourself, where does it stop?"

NBC4's Jonathan Lloyd and Christine Kim contributed to this report.

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