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Charges issued for 'tar and feathering' of Allendale statue

Confederate statue is "tarred and feathered" in Allendale Community Park
Justice For Black Lives

Allendale Township is charging four individuals for allegedly defacing the Civil War statue inside Allendale Community Park. 

The action comes after two seperate instances of protest: one in which the union soldier in the statue was painted with clown makeup, the second when the Confederate soldier was "tarred and feathered" using fake tar. Niether action left permanent damage to the structure.

Allendale Township Supervisor, Adam Elenbaas said the misdemeanor charges include defacing a statue, littering and violating township park hours. 

"My role isn't to choose whether or not some people decide to break the law. I need to find ways to make sure that the laws that we have are enforced," Elenbaas said.

Debate surrounding the statue has heated up over the past several months, with community members arguing whether or not the structure is racist. The statue depicts one Union and one Confederate soldier standing back-to-back, with a child slave at their feet reaching for freedom.

When asked if he viewed the acts against the statue as free speech, because the materials could be washed away, Elenbaas said in his eyes the actions crossed a line.

"No one is standing in front of their first amendment right to go out and protest, or hold up signs or have their voice heard. One of the challenges I see is when you use someone else’s property as your canvas,” Elenbaas said.