Officials: Confederate statue in Loudoun Co. vandalized

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LEESBURG, Va. - The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is asking for the public's help identifying two suspects who they believe vandalized the Confederate statue on the grounds of the Loudoun County Courthouse in Leesburg.

Officials said the statue was spray painted with graffiti that contained obscene language. They believe the vandalism occurred shortly after midnight on Thursday.

The graffiti has been removed and officials said there was no permanent damage.

If you have any information on this case, police ask that you contact the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office Investigations Division at 703-777-0475.

The vandalism comes at a time when the country is engaged in a debate about the fate of Confederate statues in public places. This follows the deadly protest and counter-protest that occurred last weekend in Charlottesville.

Loudoun County NAACP president Phillip Thompson said he would like to see the statue removed from the courthouse and placed in Ball's Bluff National Cemetery.

The county would need the approval of the Virginia General Assembly to make such a move, but Thompson does not think the Republican-controlled House would allow that.

"Loudoun County needs to make its own decision and then fight for that decision either way," said Thompson.

Loudoun County Board of Supervisors Chair Phyllis Randall said in a statement that this fall, she intends to put an item in the county's Legislative Agenda that "allows a locality greater discretion over Monuments and Memorials in its individual jurisdiction." But she added that for that item to be placed on the agenda, it would have to be approved by the Board of Supervisors.

Supervisors Koran Saines (Sterling District), Ron Meyer (Broad Run District), and Kristen Umstattd (Leesburg District) all said in separate statements that they support moving the statue and mentioned Ball's Bluff as a possible new site. All three also condemned the vandalism.