The Madison County Sheriff’s Office is investigating who vandalized the Confederate monument outside the Madison County Courthouse hours before new demands for its removal.
Madison County commissioners say the vandalism won't speed up the process of moving the monument, even though activists note it as one more reason it should be removed.
Some activists told WAAY 31 the red paint symbolizes exactly what the statue stands for, and they want it moved before it becomes a public safety issue.
"I think this monument has never looked better. In fact, I think it looks more historically accurate," Catherine Hereford, an activist and the granddaughter of civil rights activist Sonny Hereford said.
While she doesn't condone this vandalism, she believes it shows what happens when a community gets fed up.
"We have waited to do things the right way and they have dragged their feet like no other major city in Alabama has done," Hereford said.
"I do consider the person that did it a better public servant than the people working in that county commission," she said.
Others believe it sends the wrong message.
"As John Lewis would say, we want to get into good trouble. That's not good trouble. Vandalism is bad trouble," Ricky Howard, who spoke at the commission meeting, said.
State law fines any city or county $25,000 for moving a monument older than 40 years. One local group said it raised the money to pay the fine. They even referenced the fine by calling it the price for human decency.
Hereford says she hopes the vandalism is a wake up call to the commission, but commission Chairman Dale Strong once again said the county is waiting on state permission to move the statue - something the state said isn’t happening.
"If we do things illegally because of vandalism I can only imagine what the next situation will be," Strong said.