By Associated Press - Saturday, July 4, 2020

LOTHIAN, Md. (AP) - A privately-owned Confederate statue at a Maryland church has been toppled and vandalized, according to police.

The Capital Gazette reports that photos provided by Anne Arundel County police show that the statue at Mt. Calvary Anglican Church in Lothian was ripped off its concrete platform.

The word “racist” was written in red spray paint on the platform and descriptive plaque for the statue of Private Benjamin Welch Owens, who served in a Confederate Maryland artillery unit during the Civil War.

Police said the statue was last seen undamaged late Thursday. No suspects were immediately identified.

After the statue was vandalized in June, church leaders said they would discuss removing it.

The newspaper said Church Rector R.H. Tregenza declined to comment, while statue owner Bill Chaney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

County Executive Steuart Pittman has called for the statue’s removal but said Friday that he does not approve of it being torn down and vandalized.

“The statue offends me. It’s in a place where it was clearly designed to send a message to the public, and it’s a racist message,“ Pittman said. “I hope that they don’t put the statue back up, but I don’t condone the way it was done.”

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