WILKES-BARRE, Pa. (CBS/AP) — Wilkes-Barre city officials have removed a public monument that included a recently added brick that was sponsored by a Ku Klux Klan affiliate. The Citizens’ Voice reported Thursday the column monument in the city’s Public Square was taken down three weeks after a brick was placed on it bearing the name of the East Coast Knights, a KKK chapter that has recruited in Wilkes-Barre.
Harrisburg citizen activist Gene Stilp tried to chisel it off last week, resulting in a disorderly conduct charge. He says he plans to fight the charge.
The monument was installed in 2008.
Supporters could purchase engraved bricks for $35.
Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tony George tells the paper it was time to tear down the monument, which he says wouldn’t have survived ongoing renovations to Public Square.
“Yesterday, I directed that the brick display on Public Square be removed,” George told The Citizens’ Voice in a statement. “After careful consideration of all issues involved, and most importantly, the fact that the display was not going to survive the ongoing renovations on Public Square, I decided now was an appropriate time to remove the display in its entirety. Before removal, I reached out to a former member of Celebrate Wilkes-Barre, Inc. I was informed that entity is now defunct and had no interest in retrieving the display. In the near future, the City will be issuing a press release detailing how people who wish to retrieve a purchased brick can do so.”
(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)