MOBILE, Ala. (WALA) -- The statue of Civil War Admiral Raphael Semmes has been removed from its longstanding place in downtown Mobile.
The statue was removed overnight, and residents noticed it gone early Friday morning.
The statue was vandalized earlier this week.
Mitchell Bond, 20, of Mobile was charged with defacing a monument, which is a Class A misdemeanor, after messages were spray painted on the base of the statue. The city removed those painted messages Tuesday.
Semmes was an officer in the Confederate navy. He commanded the CSS Alabama, a commerce raider that sank Union-allied ships during the Civil War.
Mobile Mayor Sandy Stimpson issued the following statement regarding his order to remove the Semmes statue:
On June 4, 2020, I ordered that the statue of Admiral Raphael Semmes be moved from its location at the intersection of Government and Royal streets in downtown Mobile.
The task was completed this morning, June 5. The statue has been placed in a secure location.
To be clear: This decision is not about Raphael Semmes, it is not about a monument and it is not an attempt to rewrite history.
Moving this statue will not change the past. It is about removing a potential distraction so we may focus clearly on the future of our city. That conversation, and the mission to create One Mobile, continues today.
The removal of the statue follows days of protests in Alabama and across the nation over killings by police of African Americans.
Around the country, other monuments to the Confederacy and Civil War figures have been removed in recent times, including this week a monument in Birmingham's Linn Park.
On Sunday in Birmingham, prior to that monument's removal, hundreds of people gathered in Linn Park, chanting and listening to speakers decrying police brutality. Some in the crowd toppled a bronze statue of city industrialist Charles Linn, who served in the Confederate Navy, but they were unable to budge the huge stone obelisk of the large Confederate monument. They battered it instead with stones and hammers, the Associated Press reported, and city leaders subsequently ordered its removal.