Family upset after Virginia fallen officer’s memorial is removed

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — The widow of a Norfolk officer is outraged after her late husband’s makeshift memorial was moved over the weekend.

On Sunday, the Cottage Road Park Civic League posted on their Facebook page photos of the memorial with a message stating it’s a new year and it’s time to move on.

It is a beginning of a New Year. It is time to move forward just like Officer Jones widow. The officers of the civic league and a couple of the neighbors saidYes to removing Officer Jones memorial. So today John and I took it down and moved it to Officer Jones grave at Forrest Lawn…..I am respectfully asking the person On Wellington Road to do the same with at I believe at 7478. If you have a problem with what we have done please come to our meeting Monday night.

Norfolk Officer Brian Jones was killed during a shooting May 2014. He left behind his wife Rebekah Jones, two young sons and a young daughter.

The memorial is at the intersection of Wellington Road and Stanley Street, which is where Jones was shot and killed.

Jones’ widow asked anyone who was available to attend the civic league meeting on Monday night to voice how important the memorial is.

“It hurts that it was removed,” said Jones before the meeting. “But, it was the way it was removed and [Catherine Ledsome’s] comments about how, because I’ve moved forward, they’re going to move forward.”

Ledsome is the president of the Cottage Road Park Civic League.

Jones said that she started to cry when her mother sent her a photo showing the memorial had been moved. She said no one had contacted her about the move and that she would always honor and respect her late husband. Jones was on her way to buy a new wreath for the site Monday, when she received a message from Ledsome asking that she come by her house and asked her not to replace the memorial, she said.

8News sister station WAVY learned at the meeting that when Jones went to Ledsome, and the home of civic league vice president John Moscoe, Ledsome apologized but said the memorial should not have been replaced.

At Monday night’s civic league meeting, Moscoe started out by apologizing and accepting responsibility.

“I made a mistake,” said Moscoe. “I take full responsibility for leaving one detail out: I did not call Rebekah and ask her.”

He went on, “I wish now more than anything that I had done that.”

Jones then stood up in the meeting to respond to Moscoe.

“You were very kind to me today and I do appreciate that,” Jones said in front of the meeting. “However, your wife, as the president, was very rude and disrespectful to me today. She was the one that owes me a public apology and I would appreciate that very much.”

Moscoe explained that the civic league applied for a permanent memorial in honor of Brian Jones last May. He said the process has gotten stalled as the land where Jones’ memorial currently sits is private property. He also said, one of the reasons for moving the memorial in the first place was it wasn’t getting enough upkeep.

As the meeting went on, people attending the meeting on behalf of Jones said Ledsome owed an apology to the group for exchanges that were made earlier in the day. As the meeting became more heated, the group there on behalf of the Jones family left.

Some friends of Jones later returned to Wellington Road and Stanley Drive and rebuilt the memorial with newly purchased flowers, decorations and ribbons.

Moscoe afterward said the memorial could stay, especially if others were willing to help with it.

A spokeswoman for the city of Norfolk said roadside memorials can remain for 30 days. The city did not remove this one because someone requested an application to start the process for a permanent memorial, but has not yet submitted the application.

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