Court of Appeals rules over Reidsville Confederate monument

By McClatchy News Service
Published: Monday, November 25, 2013

The N.C. Court of Appeals ruled against the Reidsville Confederate Monument in a decision made on Tuesday, Nov. 19.

The court decided the Historical Preservation Action Committee and the N.C. chapter of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans were not harmed by the removal of Reidsville’s monument.

“While we are disappointed with the court’s decision, we respect the opinion of the court,” HPAC wrote in a press release.

The two organization’s joint attorney brought forward four components to his appeal. He said the petitioners had standing over the matter, it impacted his clients economically, getting rid of public property hurt them and they felt harm from the removal due to the aesthetic enjoyment they got from it.

The three-person panel of judges ruled against all four of these points and said the petitions didn’t have a standing in this case.

“Where plaintiffs did not allege a sufficient injury that was fairly traceable to defendants, plaintiffs were not ‘persons aggrieved’ as defined under the Administration Procedure Act and did not have standing to seek judicial review under N.C. Gen. Stat. 150B-43,” the court document said.

The judges also denied the plaintiffs attorneys’ fees for the same reason.

HPAC and SCV came to the courts appealing a decision made by Judge Mark E. Klass in Rockingham County Superior Court in a case listing the N.C. Department of Culture Resources and the N.C. Department of Transportation as the defendants.

“We hold that plaintiffs have not demonstrated that their personal, property, employment or other legal rights have been injured by the decision of NCDOT or NCDCR,” the court documents said.

HPAC doesn’t regret the lawsuits.

“We put forth our best efforts to preserve the historical resources of the City of Reidsville and the State of North Carolina,” HPAC’s press release said. “While we are disappointed in the outcome, we do not regret doing everything we can to preserve our heritage and yours.”

As for city officials, Reidsville City Manager Michael Pearce felt the ruling, along with the decisions of an insurance company, NCDOT, NCDCR and the superior court validated the city council’s actions in handling the matter.

“Our continuing hope is that we can move beyond this issue and focus on the problems that need our communities’ attention such as education, growing our economy, providing for a second infrastructure and insuring that our citizens enjoy a safe place to live and an excellent quality of life,” Pearce said.

Pearce may not get his wish. On the “Save the Reidsville Confederate Monument” Facebook page, it’s been said HPAC isn’t done yet.

The Reidsville Confederate Monument issue became controversial in May 2011 after a Greensboro man, Mark Anthony Vincent, drove his work van into the monument early in the morning. The impact damaged the base of the monument and knocked off the confederate soldier on top, shattering it into pieces.

The monument sat at the intersection of S. Scales and W. Morehead streets. While the city has a camera in operation at that intersection city officials said a thunderstorm caused it not to work at the time of the accident.

In June 2011, the city conducted a public hearing asking residents to offer up their opinions on what to do with the monument. Later, city officials announced the monument didn’t actually belong to Reidsville but to the North Carolina chapter of the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

HPAC formed in Aug. 2011 with the goal of getting the monument placed back in the original intersection.

Ultimately, the UDC decided to place it at Greenview Cemetery, the city-owned cemetery.

Copyright © 2013 Halifax Media Group

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