City of Decatur leaders urge DeKalb County to step in and remove Confederate monument

At Monday’s City of Decatur meeting, commissioners tabled a proposal that would create an African-American experience exhibit at the controversial Confederate monument on the Decatur Square and instead unanimously adopted a resolution, stating that the city is against white supremacy and urged DeKalb County to step in and remove the monument.

“We applaud the effort and we have waited for our city to say unequivocally that they oppose white supremacy and that is what we heard, that is what we expect as a community, that is what the city of Decatur is all about, and the people of Decatur about and so our city government should reflect that,” said Civil Rights Attorney Mawuli Mel Davis.

Commissioner Tony Powers introduced the resolution after several residents spoke out against the monument during public comment.

City leaders said because the Confederate memorial is on county property they do not have the authority to remove it, but stated their support for the removal publicly.

“This should be the starting point for the state of Georgia to begin removing these confederate monuments and we believe if it is not possible here then it will not be possible anywhere so this is an important battleground for all of us,” said Mawuli Mel Davis.

Under Georgia state law, “no publicly owned monument honoring Confederate soldiers shall be relocated, removed or altered in any fashion.”

Decatur Mayor Patti Garrett said they would turn to DeKalb County CEO Michael Thurmond and state leaders for clarification on the law.

Attorney Gerald Griggs with the Georgia NAACP who is also a Decatur resident told commissioners Monday that the law allows for the removal of these monuments.

“Allows for the removal of these monuments for their preservation and protection and allows them to be placed in a museum and that is where it will be placed in a historical context,” said Attorney Gerald Griggs.