Manatee County Confederate monument cracks in half during removal overnight

BRADENTON, Fla. - A monument honoring Confederate soldiers cracked in half as it was removed from the grounds in front of the courthouse in Bradenton early Thursday morning. 

The Confederate war veteran memorial was taken off the grounds of the county courthouse early Thursday morning. Only the slab where the monument stood remained in place.

Officials tell ABC Action News the monument cracked into two pieces when it was taken down due to it not being properly attached to the base. 

Officials say crews discovered the monument was an even greater public safety risk when they found that the spire was not completely attached to the base of the monument. 

"The spire shifted in the straps and quickly fell to the ground and broke in two pieces. The shaft's easy separation from the base was a sign that the monument was a potential hazard before the move began and could have toppled in a strong storm or if it had been pushed or pulled at the right point," according to a release from the County.

RELATED | Manatee County Commissioners vote to move Confederate monument following arrests, massive protest

"We took every safety precaution to respectfully move this to a safe location," said Property Management Director Charlie Bishop, whose department worked with a local contractor that has extensive experience moving heavy objects. "Thankfully no one was hurt when the spire came down. We're confident that it can be fully repaired and safely placed in a permanent location once the location is determined."

Officials say the monument was taken to "a secure, undisclosed location in the county."

County commission voted 4-3 to put the monument in temporary storage while exploring a new home for it. The vote followed a protest by hundreds of people, many calling for the removal of the monument.

Earlier this month, Hillsborough County commissions said a Confederate monument would stay put in Tampa unless private funds were raised to move it. Donations poured in, including a promise from the three major sports teams to dedicate funds to move the monument.

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