NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans Police Department is preparing for a Saturday protest over one of the city's most iconic statues.
Superintendent Michael Harrison held a news conference Friday afternoon to announce his strategy in response to a group that vows to tear down the Andrew Jackson monument in Jackson Square.
The group Take 'Em Down Nola says it opposes the statue because Jackson, who was hailed as a hero in the Battle of New Orleans, also owned hundred of slaves in his lifetime and was an advocate of what he called "Indian removal" that resulted in the mass killing of Native Americans.
The NOPD said it doesn't oppose a legal, peaceful protest but it will not tolerate the unlawful tearing down of the statue.
Harrison said he will have extra staff and barricades on hand if rival groups turn out.
"We have information that there may be an opposing group, and we will take whatever steps are necessary to make sure both groups can demonstrate safely within the law," he said.
Harrison would not say exactly how many extra officers will be on hand, but he did say their numbers would be "ample." He said officers would also be monitoring activity around the city's other monuments, which have been the subject of recent controversy and legal action.