LEXINGTON, Ky. (KT) – Lexington's mayor responded to the racially-charged violence in Virginia by announcing steps to take down two Confederate statues located at the former courthouse.
“The tragic events in Charlottesville today have accelerated the announcement I intended to make next week," said Mayor Jim Gray.
Gray said he will present a petition to the Lexington-Fayette County Urban County Council on Tuesday asking the Kentucky Military Heritage Commission for permission to take down the statues of John Hunt Morgan and John C. Breckinridge.
No mention of where the statues would be relocated.
Other Kentucky officials reacted by issuing statements denouncing the "hate and bigotry" exhibited in Charlottesville, Va., where white nationalists gathered to protest the city's plans to remove a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee.
A car plowed into a crowd of people peacefully protesting at the rally, killing one person, hurting more than a dozen others and ratcheting up tension in a day full of violent confrontations.
"Disguised as an exercise of free speech, white nationalist and hate groups are engulfing Charlottesville, Virginia, in bigotry and racism today,” said Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes. “Whether in Charlottesville, or in Pikeville, Kentucky, where a KKK rally was held earlier this year, hate and violence is nothing but an attempt to silence people who understand the true value of American freedoms.”
Grimes warned, "When we become reckless with our values and take freedoms for granted, we lose what makes America great. We cannot allow hate and bigotry to tear down democracy and freedom."
In a tweet, U. S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said, “The hate and bigotry witnessed in #Charlottesville does not reflect American values. I wholeheartedly oppose their actions.”