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'The Cost Is Justified': $450,000 Spent and One Life Lost to Remove Robert E. Lee Statue

Robert E. Lee statue in Dallas, with workers taking it down and a policeman on duty.

Removing a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee may cost the Dallas City Council as much as $450,000, and one life has already been lost in connection to this project. Even so, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said that these costs would be worth it.

"This decision is fundamentally not about money. This is a decision about morality, about right vs. wrong," Mayor Mike Rawlings said in a statement released Wednesday evening. "The cost is justified for the same reasons I have stated repeatedly: In my view, this statue has become a dangerous totem of racism, especially in light of the deplorable display in Charlottesville of torch-weilding white supremacists marching in support of a Robert E. Lee statue there."

According to Rawlings, fighting a symbol — whose connection to white supremacy is debatable — is worth nearly half a million dollars and one life.

On Sunday night, a truck driver was killed when his vehicle slammed into a crane that was on its way to remove the statue, The Dallas Morning News reported. The crane was being driven in from Houston. The truck driver was pronounced dead on the scene by Dallas Fire-Rescue, while the driver of the crane did not suffer significant injuries.

According to City Manager T.C. Broadnax, the truck driver ran a red light. He was moving "at a very high rate of speed and failed to yield the right of way," according to a city statement.

"Obviously, we're heartbroken someone lost their life," Assistant City Manager Jon Fortune told The Dallas Morning News. "Our thoughts and prayers are with their family."

The accident delayed the removal yet again, after the first crane ordered by the city proved to be too small. The statue was set to be removed last Wednesday afternoon, immediately after the city council voted (13 to 1) to take it down. Since the crane was too small, the Sons of Confederate Veterans gained a temporary restraining order delaying the removal until Thursday. A judge later dissolved that order.

The 81-year-old statue of Lee reportedly weighs 12 to 14 tons.

In a series of questions and answers on the Dallas city newsroom site, the city announced that the crane was "extensively damaged" by the accident and "will not be available for this job."

The city admitted that the "estimated cost to remove the statue" is "in the $400,000 to $450,000 range." Tellingly, the release added, "There may be some additional costs because of delays due to unforeseen circumstances and having to stop work due to filing of the temporary injunction."

Nearly half a million dollars — with "additional costs" likely!

One of those potential additional costs is the Dallas Police Department detail, who the city announced would be "stationed at the park to maintain security until the statue is removed."