Franklin police asking public for information about defaced Robert E. Lee monument

Police also released the description of a suspect in the incident.

Franklin police asking public for information about defaced Robert E. Lee monument

FRANKLIN — UPDATE @ 3:08 p.m. (June 29): The Franklin Police Department released details about the possible suspect in the defacing of the Confederate monument of Army Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Dixie Highway this past weekend.

The suspect is described as a tall, thin, white male, wearing a black T-shirt and a black mask over his face, according to a news release.

Police officials also posted a surveillance video of the incident to the department’s Facebook page.

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Police are asking anyone who may have information on this case to contact Police Officer J. Lacon at 937-746-2882 or leave an anonymous tip on the department’s Hotline at 937-743-1TIP (1847).

INITIAL REPORT (June 28)

A Confederate monument was defaced during the weekend with what appeared to be spray paint.

The rock that bears a plaque honoring Confederate Army Gen. Robert E. Lee and the Dixie Highway is located at the Fraternal Order of Eagles, along North Main Street in Franklin.

Someone defaced the memorial with what appeared to be red spray paint. They also wrote ‘no racist monuments’ in front of it on the road.

Brian Morris, who lives in Franklin, told News Center 7 he spent part of his Sunday cleaning the monument.

“I cleaned up this monument because it is on private property and as a man of faith, you help those that are in need,” Morris said. “I did it silently because hopefully this person feels better and got this out of their system and we can all move forward while respecting each other’s views, regardless of what they might be.”

The monument has been the center of controversy in years past.

It used to be located at the corner of Hamilton-Middletown Road and South Dixie Highway. In August 2017, the city decided to move it after realizing it was within the 50-foot easement of Dixie Highway, which the city has owned since the 1980s.

That decision to remove the Confederate marker came days after the Charlottesville, Virginia, protest where white supremacists marched to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in the city. Heather Heyer, 32, was slain during the protests in Virginia.

In June 2018, the monument was given a new home at the Fraternal Order of Eagles lodge.

News Center 7 reached out to the Fraternal Order of Eagles about the incident, but officials there said “no comment.” We also reached out to Franklin police to see if they are investigating, but have not heard back at this time.