Authorities in Maryland on Friday removed a statue of a 19th century Chief Justice who wrote the pro-slavery Dred Scott decision in the latest example of action over memorials that have sparked protests across the United States.

Crews in state capital Annapolis hitched straps overnight to the 145-year-old bronze statue outside State House and lifted it from its base with a crane, according to media reports and social media postings.

"While we cannot hide from our history – nor should we – the time has come to make clear the difference between properly acknowledging our past and glorifying the darkest chapters of our history," Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said in a statement on Wednesday.

Chief Justice Roger Taney's landmark 1857 decision said: "The negro might justly and lawfully be reduced to slavery for his benefit." Legal scholars say it is one of the worst decisions in the Supreme Court's history.

Authorities and protesters have since Saturday removed monuments in several U.S. cities to the Civil War Confederacy of states that held slaves, arguing they are inappropriate and offensive.

One person died and others were injured in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday when a car plowed into people protesting a demonstration by hundreds of white supremacists who opposed the removal of a monument.

President Donald Trump decried on Thursday the removal of the monuments, echoing the views of white nationalists. His comments drew a rebuke from fellow Republicans in a controversy that has inflamed racial tensions.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)