Gray announced Saturday on Twitter that he will ask the Lexington-Fayette County Council to request permission from a state military commission to take down the statues of John Hunt Morgan, a Confederate general, and John C. Breckinridge, a Kentucky politician, both of whom violently opposed the abolition of human slavery.
The Lexington mayor had originally planned to announce the move next week, but was compelled to take immediate action after horrific events in Charlottesville, in which clashes between white supremacists and counter-protesters resulted in one death and many injuries.
— Mayor Jim Gray (@JimGrayLexKY) August 12, 2017
Counter-protester Heather Heyer, 32, was violently killed after a member of one of the far-right groups marching in Charlottesville drove his car into a crowd of peaceful demonstrators. Less than two hours later, two state police helicopter pilots, assisting with public safety and surveillance, were killed after their helicopter crashed in a nearby golf course. Dozens have been injured.
Rallies and marches in support of yesterday's victims and refuting the message of hate and violence expressed by the white supremacists are taking place across the US.
Murder charges will be brought against the driver of the car. "While it will never make up for the loss of a member of our community, we will pursue charges against the driver of the vehicle that caused her death and are confident justice will prevail," the city of Charlottesville said in a statement.