Video: Tupelo Council Heated Debate on State Flag
TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) –
The issue of whether the city of Tupelo will continue to fly the state flag at city hall was a heated topic of discussion at Tuesday’s council meeting.
WCBI’s Chad Groening has the story.
For the time being the Mississippi State flag flies in front of city hall. But the city may decide to remove it like similar places around the south.
At issue is the section of the flag that contains the old Confederate battle flag. At Tuesday’s council meeting citizens on both sides of the issue were allowed to speak.
“Our nation’s founders did not find it in the best interest of America to have the decision of the few govern against the will of a nation or a state, ” said Jarrod Baker. “We’re a democratic republic. We have and always will be a democratic nation. And to remove our state’s flag from this building or any other is nothing short than an act of tyranny and disregard for the democratic voice of the people,” he said.
Jim High disagreed. “After the Civil Rights laws of the fifies and the sixties the KKK and other groups and some individuals adopted the Confederate battle flag as their symbol of resistance to the federal government and it’s drive to eliminate discrimination in America. So now after South Carolina has removed their Confederate flag from the State Capitol grounds Mississippi is left all alone still fighting the battle that was lost in 1865,” High argued.
And Paul Sudduth another speaker warned the council about taking action that goes against state law.
“The next state law from 2013 97-7-39 Any person will be convicted of a misdemeanor for casting contempt in word or action against the state flag,” he said.
Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton says he city is waiting for an opinion from the Mississippi Attorney General’s office about the legality of joining other Mississippi cities that have already taken the flag down.
“I know that many cities and it’s my understanding that Oxford did tonight made the decision not to fly the state flag but here in Tupelo we want to be unified and we want to be correct and we want to make sure we want to make sure that we’re following state law and our oath of office,” he said . “So we’re going to seek an attorney general’s opinion and then once we receive that opinion were going to make a decision as a city where we go from here,” shelton concludes.
Regardless of what the Attorney General advises and what the city ultimately does by the looks of that crowd tonight, whether the flag stays up or comes down some folks are going to be real unhappy.