Reward offered for Confederate memorial vandals

The Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans is offering a $3,000 reward to anyone who can help identify the person or persons responsible for vandalizing a Confederate memorial in Decatur.

Decatur officials confirmed that on Feb. 3 three veteran memorials were covered with paint, including a Confederate memorial located near the Historic Decatur Courthouse. The memorial was vandalized twice in 2017. In one incident, feces was smeared on the obelisk.

“It’s sad and it’s disgusting,” said Martin O’Toole, Georgia Sons of Confederate Veterans spokesperson.

O’Toole said he hopes police convict those responsible for the recent vandalism.

“The vandals need to be arrested and punished. I hope in the future that vandals will be forced to pay for the damaged property. I think that would deter some of this behavior,” O’Toole said.

A spokesperson with Decatur Police Department said there are no current leads on any suspects. Lt. Jennifer Ross said the department is contracting a company to install cameras in the area.

Officers are aware of the recent vandalism and regularly walk around the square during daytime and nighttime hours,” said Ross.

Ross said there is currently no plan for additional monitoring of the memorials.

Many activists have requested that the county remove the Confederate memorial in downtown Decatur. According to state law O.C.G.A 50-3-1 (b) (1), it is unlawful to “mutilate, deface, defile, or abuse contemptuously” or for local governments to “remove or conceal from display…for the purpose of preventing the visible display.”

DeKalb commissioners also requested the General Assembly create legislation to repeal the law.

Proposed House Bill 175 would outlaw any Confederate symbols, monuments and memorials on public property in Georgia. It would also outlaw displaying the Confederate battle flag on private property.

The bill also repeals prohibition of removal of Confederate monuments and removes language protecting the Confederate monument at Stone Mountain Park.

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