A Virginia man who was struck by a falling Confederate statue during a protest flatlined twice on the way to the hospital and was placed in a coma, according to his wife.
Chris Green, 45, of Portsmouth, was one of the hundreds of Virginians who descended onto the streets Wednesday to protest police brutality and the death of George Floyd, an African-American man who died while in police custody.
Protesters rallied at the Confederate monument in Olde Towne Portsmouth after the City Council earlier that night put off decisions on potentially removing the statue.
Confederate monuments and statues have become targets for protesters, many of whom believe such statues should be removed due to their association with slavery and racism.
Chris Green (far left, pictured with his wife and children) was hit in the head by a Confederate statue when protesters in Portsmouth, Virginia, pulled down the monument
Some people used bolt cutters and hammers to chip away at the statues while four Confederate statues were beheaded.
The mood was celebratory – a marching band even arrived with an impromptu performance – but that came to a halt when a Confederate statue yanked down with a rope suddenly fell on top of Green around 9pm, 13 News Now reports.
Green lost consciousness soon after his head was cut open. Police officers watching the protests moved in to provide medical attention before the father-of-two was rushed to a nearby hospital for life-threatening injuries.
Fellow protesters knelt as Green was whisked away and eventually dispersed at the request of officers.
Protesters reportedly used bolt cutters and hammers to chip away at the Confederate monument, as well as used rope to pull down one of the statues (pictured)
Organizers of the protest claimed Green was hit after trying to get other individuals to move out of the way.
Green’s wife, Tonieh Brisbane-Green, said her husband of 13 years flatlined twice while being taken to the hospital.
Tonieh, who was not at the demonstration that night, said she supports the protests, ‘but do it in a peaceful manner.’
‘There was no need to do all of that especially while there were so many people around that statue knowing that somebody’s going to get hurt,’ said Tonieh.
She added that she’s troubled that protesters that night ‘didn’t think’ when they pulled down the century-old statue.
Protest Organizer Rocky Hines said Green was trying to move people from away from the falling Confederate statue when it fell over
According to Tonieh, the extent of Green’s injuries were so bad that doctors ‘were surprised he even made it because that thing [the statue] is so heavy.’
Green was fortunately reported to be in stable condition as of Thursday night wrote The Virginian-Pilot but Tonieh is still in a state of shock.
‘I just feel like I’m in a dream right now. Like, I just need to be pinched to wake up and everything will go back to normal,’ she said.
She’s also unsure of how the incident even happened. So far, she’s been told that her husband’s back was to the statue when it toppled over.
‘So he didn’t even see it coming, like, “Oh, let me move out of the way,”‘ said Tonieh. ‘And then I heard it was hard for the ambulance to even get to because of the crowds.’
Tonieh Brisbane-Green (left, pictured with Green) chastised protesters, saying: ‘There was no need to do all of that especially while there were so many people around that statue knowing that somebody’s going to get hurt’
Rocky Hines, one of the organizers of the Wednesday protest, set up a GoFundMe account for Green the following morning.
‘We are responsible for this, and we need to right it in whatever way we can,’ Hines told The Virginian-Pilot.
Hines said Green had been at there for much of the protest and he felt compelled to help after hearing so much about him.
‘I apologized on our behalf, and she (Green’s sister) said he doesn’t want anyone upset with us,’ said Hines. ‘His family is not upset, they are hurting.’
Green is in stable condition, but still hospitalized as he recovers from his injuries, said Sgt. Michelle Anaya, spokeswoman for Virginia State Police.
Hines added that Green is ‘not quite out of the woods,’ but said he was responding to neurological tests.
The GoFundMe has raised $32,822 of its $40,000 as of Friday morning.
‘It was an accident,’ said Hines. ‘What his family needs is prayers, not people saying he knew the risk.’
Even though Green was injured during Wednesday’s demonstration, Hines said the protests aren’t stopping anytime soon.
‘I do think we need to be more mindful of each other’s health and safety going forward,’ he said.
The Portsmouth Police Department requested an investigation into how Green was injured and if any charges will be filed, according to CNN.
Tonieh has not decided if she will pursue legal action against the city.
The Confederate monument was covered in paint and graffiti on Wednesday before they were further damaged later that night
Pictured: The Confederate monument in Portsmouth, Virginia, before it was damaged during a protests on Wednesday
Portsmouth Mayor John L. Rowe, Jr. praised officers for containing vandalism during Wednesday’s protest to a single area in an effort to protect civilian lives and private property.
‘We can repair the monument, but an injured body carries that scar for life. We can repair the monument, but we cannot bring back a life – if one was lost because of our escalating the event by the use of force,’ said Rowe.
Rowe continued to say that the city if mourning the death of George Floyd, but the nation must come together to dispel racism and prejudice.
Mayor Kenny Alexander of Norfolk, which is just minutes away, asked for safety and peaceful protests in the city.
‘An individual was seriously injured in an attempt to remove a statue in Portsmouth. We are praying for his full recovery and hope that this incident will not be repeated,’ Alexander said.
In 2017, the Portsmouth City Council adopted a resolution to relocate the Confederate monument to a local cemetery when laws permit the move. Rowe said the resolution is still in effect.
The Confederate monument sits in a site where slaves were punished on a whipping post.
Pictured: a protester holding a sign reading ‘No Justice, No Peace’ at the protests held Wednesday in Olde Towne Portsmouth
Earlier that day, Portsmouth City Council expressed concerns over citizen safety after protesters climbed and spray-painted the monument.
‘I watched several videos today that showed individuals climbing on the monument,’ said Councilman Nathan Clark.
‘If one of those had fallen off onto that new fence that is there and impaled themself and seriously injured or killed, I would believe that the city would have the lawsuit filed against us. ‘
The Virginia General Assembly passed a bill allowing local government the authority and specified process of moving monuments.
A public hearing must be conducted by a local government. A public hearing regarding the Confederate monument was scheduled for July 28.