Crane companies hesitant to help with Confederate statue's removal

Since the city of Dallas’ first attempt to remove the Robert E. Lee statue in Oak Lawn one week ago, there’s a better sense of how difficult it has been for Dallas to come up with a plan.

After the first cranes didn't work, a crane brought in from Houston on Sunday was involved in a crash and badly damaged.

A City spokesperson says a couple crane companies have said they did have enough info to do the job, but others have said the info was lacking. Some companies simply don't want to get involved in the controversy, further delaying the removal of the 14,000-pound statue.

The Robert E. Lee statue in Lee Park remains under police guard and continues to draw people who want a last look.

The timeline of the removal is still murky. The city has not been able to get a crane that can do the job to the site and other companies are afraid to get involved.

The truck that carried in the crane involved in Sunday’s crash had spots where a company logo appeared to be covered up. There were at least four places that were covered with tarps or something else.

A local crane company, which spoke anonymously to FOX 4, says the city contacted it, but it wasn't worth wading into the political mess especially when there are a lot of other jobs, including in the Houston recovery.

The company told FOX 4 "we made a conscious decision to take care of our customers and not get involved."

The company also said the city didn't know the weight of the statue when they approached the company.

When confronted about it, a city spokesperson said, “We know that at least two crane companies did believe they had enough information to participate in the project."

With attempts to swiftly remove the statue floundering, one group will now use the location to rally. ‘This is Texas Freedom Force,” a pro-open carry group, says it met with DPD again on Wednesday to talk about its rally.

“We hope that they uphold their end of the bargain because as long as they do we will too as well, we're not going to have any issues,” said a man with the organization. “They know we're a peaceful group, but we won't stand for any attacks on our people or anything like that.”

The group says DPD asked them to move the planned rally away from Lee Park, but the organizers refused. They plan to have between 300-500 hundred people huddled near the statue on Saturday with as many as 100 of them armed.

A rep for the Lee Park Conservancy, which keeps the park up, said it had only heard rumors of the Saturday rally.  It said that large groups would need to notify them well in advance of an event.

In a new statement, a spokesperson said they have now been notified that DPD and the city are working with organizers on "possible locations" for the event.

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