70-year-old man facing felony for removing confederate monument in downtown Roanoke will head to trial

Roanoke Valley News

ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR) — In a video played in court on Tuesday, 70-year-old Vietnam veteran William Foreman told Roanoke Police he toppled the city’s Robert E. Lee monument in July.

The video was played during an arraignment hearing inside of Roanoke City’s General District Court on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

In the video, Foreman stated he used a U-haul truck, a “50 pound” chain, a step ladder, and a rope to take down the confederate monument back in July. Foreman said he failed to topple the monument initially, returning home to grab the step ladder. Authorities stated that he left that rope on scene.

Roanoke City facilities officials also testified, estimating the clean up and storage fee tied to the toppling at $934.64. If the monument was returned to its original location in Lee Plaza, it would rise to $3,119.07.

Foreman’s attorney, John Fishwick, Jr., asked that the class six felony charge the 70-year-old is facing be reduced to a class three misdemeanor. Fishwick said while Foreman did intend to bring the monument down and admitted to it, he did not intend to deface or destroy it, or remove it, saying he took it down and left it on city property.

Judge Francis Burkart denied the request, saying, “it will be established as a felony or misdemeanor” at trial.

Roanoke’s City Council voted in September to move the monument to Evergreen Burial Park.

Foreman was originally scheduled for an arraignment on July 27, but it was continued to Aug. 27 and again to Tuesday.

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