Charges dismissed for man accused of smearing ketchup on Confederate statue at Capitol

Jon Broadway
Jon Broadway speaking at today's press conference. [Photo Credit: Hank Sanders]

Charges have been dropped against a man and fellow protestors who police claimed smeared ketchup on statues honoring Confederate statue while performing a skit at the Alabama Capitol in April.

The statue was that of the “father of modern gynecology, Dr. J. Marion Sims, a physician who performed medical experiments on enslaved black women in the antebellum South.

Broadway,  used ketchup to symbolize blood in the skit.

According to the Associated Press, court records reveal criminal trespassing and tampering charges were dismissed.

A stand against Sims

Sims is best known for his invention of the vaginal speculum and pioneering a surgical technique to cure the “vesico-vaginal fistula,” which was a debilitating condition women often suffered in the 1800’s following complications in childbirth. He perfected the surgery by performing repeated operations on the enslaved women in Alabama during the 1840s, without using anesthesia.

From 1845 to 1849, Sims performed experimental surgeries on slaves he kept in a “little hospital of eight beds, for taking care of negro patients,” in Montgomery, Ala., he explained in his autobiography.

Many argue Sims did not have consent for his experiments, but he claims he did.

“I made this proposition to the owners of the negroes: If you will give me Anarcha and Betsey for experiment, I agree to perform no experiment or operation on either of them to endanger their lives, and will not charge a cent for keeping them, but you must pay their taxes and clothe them. I will keep them at my own expense,” Sims said of his arrangements in his autobiography.

Sims defenders agree — he was in line with the times.

According to, “Sims’s defenders say the Southern-born slaveholder was simply a man of his time for whom the end justified the means—and that enslaved women with fistulas were likely to have wanted the treatment badly enough that they would have agreed to take part in his experiments. But history hasn’t recorded their voices, and consent from their owners, who had a strong financial interest in their recovery, was the only legal requirement of the time.”

Republished with permission from the Associated Press.