DeKalb County commissioner files resolution for removal of Confederate monument

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The push to remove a Confederate monument from downtown Decatur now has the official support of a DeKalb County commissioner.

This week, Commissioner Mereda Davis Johnson filed a resolution advocating for the removal of the monument on the Decatur square.

"Well, I think that now is the time and the reason being, is because those monuments are being used to empower hate groups," said Johnson, who explained that her resolution was prompted by the violence in Charlottesville, Va. in August.

The resolution, however, is not cut and dry.  It also requests the county's attorney to look into who actually owns the monument, which was erected in 1908. According to Johnson, the county has not been able to locate any paperwork that proves it belongs to DeKalb County. Another issue could be whether state law would prevent DeKalb officials from acting.

"We're going to give them a chance to answer all of the legalities about it and then we'll move forward," Johnson explained.

Commissioner Johnson believes it will take about a month or so for that information to come to light.

Muwali Davis, who is president of the Beacon Hill Chapter of the NAACP, said he believes the legal questions could make the decision easier.

"If it's not owned by the county commission, they should remove this private object," said Davis. "It should not fall under the code section that protects a public-owned monument.  If it's not a public-owned monument, it should be a quick fix.  Remove it."

Johnson said the issue should go before the full county commission for a vote next month.