Dear Heard County BoC and selected citizens
My name is Billy Bearden, and I wish to have this subject brought before the board for discussion and a vote because of the seriousness of what has occurred. The issue is Georgia Power Plant Wansley’s blatant disregard of respect for American Veterans, the publicly flaunting of Georgia laws relating to Veteran Grave desecrations, disrespect for private property, and all the repulsive actions taken by a corporate bully against the dearly departed.
(Confederate Veterans ARE U.S. Veterans
In my honest opinion, these are the most directly related laws covering this situation – however not being a lawyer I am sure there are many others. I also hereby call upon the Heard County law enforcement authorities to dutifully investigate, rightfully charge and fully prosecute all crimes committed without bias or fear. (7 graves and 14 flags = between 28 to 50+ charges)
O.C.G.A. 50-3-1(4) It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, corporation, or other entity acting without authority to mutilate, deface, defile, abuse contemptuously, relocate, remove, conceal, or obscure any privately owned monument, plaque, marker, or memorial which is dedicated to, honors, or recounts the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state, the United States of America or the several states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or the several states thereof. Any person or entity who suffers injury or damages as a result of a violation of this paragraph may bring an action individually or in a representative capacity against the person or persons committing such violations to seek injunctive relief and to recover general and exemplary damages sustained as a result of such person’s or persons’ unlawful actions.
O.C.G.A. 50-3-9 It shall be unlawful for any person, firm, or corporation to mutilate, deface, defile, or abuse contemptuously the flag of the United States, the flag, coat of arms, or emblem of the State of Georgia, or the flag or emblem of the Confederate States of America by any act whatever.
O.C.G.A. 50-3-11 Any person, firm, or corporation who violates any provision of Code Section 50-3-8 or 50-3-9 shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
O.C.G.A. 16-7-21 (a) A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she intentionally damages any property of another without consent of that other person and the damage thereto is $500.00 or less or knowingly and maliciously interferes with the possession or use of the property of another person without consent of that person.
(b) A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she knowingly and without authority:
(1) Enters upon the land or premises of another person or into any part of any vehicle, railroad car, aircraft, or watercraft of another person for an unlawful purpose;
(d) A person who commits the offense of criminal trespass shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
(e) A person commits the offense of criminal trespass when he or she intentionally defaces, mutilates, or defiles any grave marker, monument, or memorial to one or more deceased persons who served in the military service of this state, the United States of America or any of the states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or any of the states thereof, or a monument, plaque, marker, or memorial which is dedicated to, honors, or recounts the military service of any past or present military personnel of this state, the United States of America or any of the states thereof, or the Confederate States of America or any of the states thereof if such grave marker, monument, memorial, plaque, or marker is privately owned or located on land which is privately owned.
O.C.G.A. 16-7-26 (a) A person commits the offense of vandalism to a place of worship when he maliciously defaces or desecrates a church, synagogue, or other place of public religious worship.
Before my proposal, I will provide background on a precident set 2 years ago that applies directly to Plant Wansley’s actions
In April 2009, a rogue councilman in Auburn Alabama removed 4 Confederate flags from the graves of Confederate Veterans just like was done at Plant Wansley this month. This is the story there.
The Auburn City Council issued a resolution of condemnation against the councilman
The following is reworded from the Auburn case to fit this situation.
By their own admission, Georgia Power officials entered Yellow Dirt Cemetery, located inside but separate of Plant Wansley property, on or before October 2nd and again on or before October 12th for the sole purpose of removing American Veteran memorial grave flags on private burial plots.
They were quoted as saying ‘Yes, we did remove those flags that were put up on October 8th, and we will be monitoring. If they are put back up we will remove them once again"
The actions taken by Georgia Power’s Plant Wansley officials violated numerous Georgia Laws. Their actions are inexcusable and have shown a clear disregard for the sanctity and respect for American Veterans as a whole. Their actions have stirred anger and animosity not only in our backyard, but all across the country.
The bottom line is that the graves of American Veterans are private property, sacred hallowed ground made such by their service to their country, and the placing of the flags are memorials to that service and honoring of their bravery and sacrifice for the rest of us. Both the graves, and the flags thereon are fully protected by full faith and force of law.
Therefore, the following is offered as a resolution by the Heard County Board of Commissioners:
WHEREAS, by their own admission, Georgia Power did enter the Yellow Dirt Cemetery property on 2 separate occasions and removed in violation of applicable Georgia laws flags off the graves of American Veterans, and
WHEREAS, with braggadocio, Georgia Power was quoted publicly as saying ‘Yes, we did remove those flags that were put up on October 8th, and … If they are put back up we will remove them once again", and
WHEREAS, Georgia Power’s words and deeds do not represent any redeeming qualities either legally and morally, and
NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the Heard County Commission hereby condemns the actions taken by Georgia Power Plant Wansley, urge them to make a public apology, and to pledge henceforth they will respect private property and all laws related to American Veterans.
Thank you and God Bless