WILKES-BARRE, Pa. -- A monument that sparked controversy and an arrest was suddenly taken down in the middle of the night. That monument in Wilkes-Barre has been at the center of controversy ever since it was put up, and overnight, the mayor had it removed.
The decision came from the mayor's office but there are a lot of questions as to whether that was his decision to make.
The beehive monument on Wilkes-Barre's Public Square stood tall. It was put up in 2006 to celebrate the city's bicentennial.
Recently, a brick was placed on the monument and sparked outrage because of its affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan.
The city rejected calls to remove that brick. Instead, the mayor decided to remove the entire monument.
In a statement, Mayor Tony George said, "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."
People who purchased plaques on the monument were upset to see it go.
"In memory of my daughter. She took her own life about 14 years ago," said Harold Smith. "Just devastating that they're not going to put it back up."
The city administrator says Harold Smith can get his daughter's plaque returned.
"If anyone would like to get their brick back, they can," said city administrator Rick Gazenski. "I believe right now it's at DPW in a safe spot."
The DPW director told the mayor it's being stored underneath a pile of yard waste.
"This is a memorial for people. I have my parents on there," said Beth Hoffman of Plains. "They grew up down here."
Newswatch 16 tried to sort through yard waste to find the pillar with those bricks on it, but we were asked to leave before we could find it.
Some residents in Wilkes-Barre believe the monument was a city fixture and required a city council vote for removal.
"You just do things? You know, it's crazy. It's like you're doing what Trump does. He does whatever he wants to do and that's it, same thing," said city resident Pete Webby.
Mayor George says no vote from city council was needed because the city doesn't actually own the monument.