From: James King <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, May 1, 2014
To: "email@example.com" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
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James W. King
SCV Camp 141 Commander
May 1, 2014
Public works responsible for flag removal
Thu May 01, 2014
Cordele — After the removal of over two dozen Confederate flags from a city cemetery here, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) chapter which donated them is still seeking answers as to why they were taken down.
According to local resident Michael Mullis, a member of Albany SCV Camp 141 and the person who reported the flags missing to police, the culprit of the flag removal at Sunnyside Cemetery was none other than the city’s public works department.
While the city contends its workers had ample reason to remove the flags, members of the SCV chapter says they would have liked some notification.
Flags were placed in the cemetery in honor of Confederate Heritage and History Month observed in April. At first, SCV representatives were informed the city has an ordinance in place prohibiting the placement of flags at the cemetery.
Mullis stated at the time the Confederate flags were placed numerous American flags were also visible on site. It was evident by the wear of those flags they had been present in the cemetery for quite some time.
According to an Albany television website, public works officials informed a reporter the flags were removed because they were improperly placed and were in the way of lawn mowers. It was stated the flags were placed next to the headstones but were supposed to be placed on top of the headstones.
In reference to flags obstructing the mowing of the cemetery, Mullis questioned the removal of flags from flower pots and from inside coped plots. Chapter 7, Section 2, of the city’s own ordinance reads “Lots having coping and gravel shall not be maintained by the city.” Pictures shown by Mullis showed other flags positioned so close to headstones they should have been out of reach of the mowers.
SCV State Commander Jack Bridwell said if the placement of flags was an issue the group would have removed them for the department to mow the sites and then replace them after mowing had been completed.
“They could have contacted us,” said Bridwell. “We try to work with all cities when placing flags to honor our heritage. I just do not think anything was wrong with the placement of the flags.”
In an email to the Dispatch, Albany SCV Camp Commander James King said the removal of the Confederate flags violated both Georgia and federal law.
“Georgia Monument and Memorial laws as well as U.S. federal law makes it illegal and criminal to commit any type of destructive act against or removal of any memorial to U.S. and Confederate veterans and both have equal protection,” said King. “This includes flags.
“Georgia law provides that action may be brought against persons committing such violations for relief and may recover damages.”
King said the Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is in the process of pursuing both criminal and civil action against those responsible for the theft and removal of the 27 Confederate flags.
Public Works Director Steve Fulford, in a phone interview Wednesday with a newspaper reporter said had he known who placed the flags he would have contacted them about the matter. “The removal had nothing to do with the type of flags that were placed,” Fulford stressed.
Fulford said he was informed by workers the flags were not placed properly so he authorized the removal, but never went to the site himself to determine if that was the case.
When asked, he apologized for any flags that may have been removed from pots or from inside coped plots.
The public works department, meanwhile, has handed over the flags to be returned to the SCV.
“We are not out to get in anybody’s face,” said Bridwell. “We are just trying to remember our ancestors and honor our heritage.”