Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin on Wednesday told NBC’s “Today Show” he has received death threats after he had the Confederate Soldiers & Sailors Monument removed from the city’s Linn Park.
Crews on Monday night began removing the monument after Woodfin promised protesters trying to take it down that he would have it removed in 24 hours. On Sunday night, protesters tried to remove the monument, using chunks of rock and tools to chip away at it. Protestors also tried to take it down with a pickup truck.
“Today” co-host Al Roker interviewed Woodfin Wednesday morning. After asking why Woodfin chose to take down the monument, Roker asks Woodfin to elaborate on some rumors he had received death threats.
“Unfortunately in the state of Alabama, there’s a lot of people who like to participate in revisionist history. They, believe it’s American to support the Civil War, and relate to these Confederate monuments. But they’re mad because we took the statue down and yes, there have been several threats. But our security team is not only taking it serious as it relates to me and my protection but City Hall as well as the citizens of Birmingham protection as well,” Woodfin said.
He continued, referencing the history of how the land that is now Birmingham was not part of the Civil War.
“It’s important to note that the city of Birmingham was not even a city during the Civil War, and we don’t have time to worry about something that’s not working for our city and relegates black people to property and slavery again. So, it’s important that we take this down and move forward. And we’ve accomplished that yesterday,” Woodfin said.
Roker also asked Woodfin about the new lawsuit Alabama Attorney Steve Marshall has filed against the city for taking down the monument. He asked about the $25,000 fine the lawsuit charges.
“It’s probably better for our city to pay this civil fine than it is to have more civil unrest in our city,” Woodfin said.
The remainder of the monument was removed overnight Tuesday. Images of the park taken Wednesday morning show only a pile of rubble left where the monument stood. The rubble is surrounded by metal barricades.
Woodfin won’t say where the monument was taken. He said the location where the monument was taken will remain a secret to prevent further vandalism and protect public safety. The company that removed the monument will also not be disclosed for the same reasons, the mayor said.