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DeKalb County officials are researching legal options for dealing with Confederate monument

Decatur Metro ATL slideshow

DeKalb County officials are researching legal options for dealing with Confederate monument

After the Stand With Charlottesville candlelight vigil on August 13. 2017, in Decatur, Ga., attendees gather to discuss the controversial "Lost Cause" monument in Decatur Square.
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After the Stand With Charlottesville candlelight vigil on August 13. 2017, in Decatur, Ga., attendees gather to discuss the controversial “Lost Cause” monument in Decatur Square.

While city of Decatur and DeKalb County officials have been reluctant to commit to moving a Confederate statue from the square, they are researching their options.

In an email, DeKalb County Commissioner Kathie Gannon, the presiding officer, said the county’s attorneys are researching state law regarding removal of such monuments to determine what authority the county has. Currently state law prohibits removing Confederate monuments. However, the state law says local governments can take  “appropriate measures for the preservation, protection, and interpretation of such monuments.”

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“In short, we are currently engaged with DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond and the city of Decatur in fact-finding efforts regarding the statue,” the email from Ganon’s office says. “A committee comprised of DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond, Presiding Officer of the Board of Commission, Kathie Gannon, Commissioner Jeff Rader, City of Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett, and Commissioner Tony Powers will be working together to determine steps moving forward.”

The statement adds, “Commissioner Kathie Gannon appreciates all of the ideas that citizens have taken the time to voice and looks forward to a permanent resolution.”

The future of the monument has been hotly debated since a recent violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va that resulted in the deaths of three people. The monument is in the city of Decatur but is owned by the county. It was constructed in front of the old courthouse in 1908. Historians who have weighed in on the matter in letters to Decaturish agree that its context was more about the reinforcement of  black subjugation than about remembering veterans.

A petition to remove the monument has more than 2,000 signatures.  Supporters of the keeping the monument in place have started their own petition and gathered more than 1,000 signatures. 

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