E Feliciana officials vote to keep Confederate statue outside courthouse

East Feliciana Parish Police Jury votes to keep Confederate statue outside of courthouse

CLINTON, La. (WAFB) - Members of the East Feliciana Parish Police Jury voted to keep the Confederate statue outside of the parish courthouse at a meeting Monday, July 6.

The police jury voted 5-3 against a measure that would have required the statue to be removed from in front of the courthouse within six months.

Police jury members heard public comments and voted to decide on the fate of the statue July 6, during a June 30 meeting. Members previously voted to take no action on June 15.

The matter has come up several times over the past few years.

There were some tense moments on the evening of June 30, with people wanting to keep the monument up and those wanting to relocate it to another place.

“Is this an every two year deal here? 2016, 2018, and now 2020? I am not in favor of moving that statue,” said one resident.

This is something that has come up over the past few years.

In July of 2016, a proposal to remove the statue was denied. Then in June of 2019, an appeals court rejected a black man’s request to move his trial to a courthouse without a Confederate monument out front.

“I can not honor a monument to a cause that would’ve kept my black brothers and sisters in bondage,” said another East Feliciana Parish resident.

Citizens were finally able to make their voices heard to some members of the parish’s police jury about whether the statue depicting a Confederate soldier should stay or go.

“I get the sentiment that it was built to honor the fallen. I have several brothers and sisters and a host of other family members who have and are currently serving this nation, but unfortunately, the Confederacy was on the wrong side of history,” said another resident.

“The Daughters of the Confederacy erected the monument on to the lawn of the courthouse not to depict anything else except those that have died in war,” said another woman.

The statue represents a composite of Confederate soldiers who died in the Civil War and has stood right in front of the courthouse since 1909.

“I really don’t know what more I can say other than it’s ludicrous that we are still debating if this symbol should come down,” said one man.

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death and other police-involved confrontations caught on camera, some of the conversations are now focused on Confederate statues and symbols.

There are still a lot of people who have opinions on whether the statue should stay in its place or be moved to a cemetery.

“Nobody is going to change anybody’s mind in this forum. I would urge that it be put on the election ballot and a vote be taken,” said one man in favor of keeping the monument.

While this is a local monument, President Donald Trump recently signed an executive order to protect federal monuments and statues. It states that anyone who vandalizes or destroys a monument, memorial, or statue should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

“Many of the people who are knocking down the statues don’t have any idea what the statue is, who it is, what it means, when they’re [statues] knocked down,” said President Trump.

A debate is ongoing in Clinton about whether or not to remove this Confederate era statue from in front of the courthouse in Clinton.
A debate is ongoing in Clinton about whether or not to remove this Confederate era statue from in front of the courthouse in Clinton. (Source: WAFB)

Louis Kent, the East Feliciana Police Jury president, believes the statue should come down.

“It’s time to move, change of course. It’s my third time dealing with this statue. It’s time to bring some closure to it,” he said.

Meanwhile, others are just hopeful that regardless of what decision is made, the parish can soon move forward together.

“Look how we’re acting here tonight. We have allowed a statue to bring in hate in our parish. It should not be. I’m a veteran also, but I’m so glad that I met Jesus, who got me out of slavery, who got you out of slavery, all of you in here tonight. Let us love, let’s get along and make East Feliciana the most honorable parish in the State of Louisiana,” said a local pastor.

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