BROOKSVILLE — As the country debated the pros and cons of monuments depicting Confederate soldiers, a statue in front of the Hernando County Government Center made local headlines.
But the focus in Brooksville was less about whether the statue of a Confederate soldier had to go, and more about how to protect it from perceived threats that never materialized.
In August, a rumor surfaced on social media that a group opposed to Confederate statues and any message they send about racism was planning to dismantle a statue in Lakeland and then do the same in downtown Brooksville.
The threat mobilized local law enforcement, including police, the Sheriff’s Office and even federal officers. A cadre of journalists from broadcast news outlets followed closely behind.
Paul Douglas, the local NAACP chapter president, voiced concern about the message sent by the statue, especially given the number of lynchings in Hernando County’s history, but his concerns were overshadowed by a show of support for the statue. It included people waving the Confederate flag, and parading around the courthouse and statue protected by barricades.
The social media posting was deemed untrue when a person who supposedly was spearheading the attack said there was no such plan.
Several days later, the County Commission agreed to install a permanent fence around the statue for its protection.
Barbara Behrendt, Times staff