Online chatter about a Confederate statue in Granbury led police to issue a warning on its Facebook page this week: You can’t shoot people for vandalizing a statue, in particular the one of Confederate Gen. H.B. Granbury on the lawn of the Hood County Courthouse.
The warning came as residents have debated whether the statue should remain standing in wake of the deadly protest over a Confederate monument in Charlottesville, Va.
At some point during the online discussion, “a person claiming to be a police officer” posted inaccurate information about a state law that allows the use of deadly force to stop another person from committing criminal mischief, Granbury police posted on Facebook on Monday night.
The person’s interpretation of the law, which suggested it would be OK to shoot a statue vandal, “is absolutely not true,” the police Facebook post said.
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The law, according to the Texas penal code, allows use of deadly force “against another to protect land or tangible, movable property.”
But, as the police Facebook post pointed out, a person has to “reasonably” believe that the property can’t be protected in any other way or that use of non-deadly force would expose that person to “substantial risk of death or serious bodily injury.”
“When the entire statute is read, it becomes obvious this issue is not nearly as simple as some would have you believe,” the police Facebook post said. “It is not legal to shoot someone for simply vandalizing a statue, regardless of what some are claiming.”
The statue of Granbury, who died in battle in Tennessee and whose remains were later moved to Hood County, was erected in 1913.
In the last week, two online petitions have been created: one, with 117 supporters, arguing to take down the statue and another, with about 4,000 supporters, arguing to “Leave General Granbury Alone.”
The petition against the statue, which was started by the group “Hood County Hispanics,” says it would be “more fitting” for the statue to be moved to a museum or a cemetery.
“This would also ensure its safety from vandals as well as ensure that violent white radicals do no [sic] hijack our beautiful city for violent causes,” the petition said.
The petition in favor of the statue, which was started by Granbury resident Elisha Arms, argued that the statue is “part of our history” and that “statues aren’t racist.”
“His body is in the cemetery,” the Arms’ petition said. “Are we going to dig him up? Where do we draw the line?”
Last week, Hood County Judge Darrell Cockerham told the Star-Telegram, “As far I’m concerned, it’s not an issue. It’s history. It represents the past, and it’s important to a lot of people.”
County officials in Cleburne, Stephenville, Weatherford and Comanche, where Confederate monuments and statues also stand, shared the same sentiment.
“Why are they trying to rewrite history?” Comanche County Judge James Arthur asked. “We got problems with juveniles and dope smokers and wife beaters. We got more problems than a Confederate war memorial.”