CONYERS — The Sons of Confederate Veterans has filed a temporary restraining order and complaint in Rockdale County Superior Court against Rockdale County Commission Chair Oz Nesbitt Sr. for removing the Confederate monument from the courthouse grounds on June 30.

The TRO and complaint allege that Nesbitt violated Georgia State Law 50-31-1 by making an “executive decision” to remove the monument from where it has stood at the corner of the courthouse for 107 years.

The SCV is seeking an injunction that would prohibit Nesbitt from moving the monument from where it is currently being stored “to any other place than a restoration to its original location in downtown Conyers.”

Georgia Senate Bill 77 was passed last year to actively protect all government statues and monuments, including prohibiting the removal of Confederate monuments. But the bill also prohibits the removal of monuments of Confederate war leaders or figures. The bill makes it unlawful to “mutilate, deface, or abuse” any monument that is publicly owned by the state of Georgia. But it also allows a local government seeking to relocate a monument to place it in “site of similar prominence.”

The monument was erected on April 6, 1913 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy to honor Confederate soldiers from Rockdale County who died during the Civil War.

In the midst of protests following the May killing of George Floyd, a number of monuments memorials and statues across the United States have been removed, many of them related to the Civil War.

Nesbitt said he received many emails, texts and calls about the removal of the monument in Conyers and planned to “follow the letter of the law to do things the way they should be done” until he heard of alleged threats coming into the county that raised his concern for the safety of citizens. He then made an “executive decision” without a vote by the three-member Board of Commissioners to have the monument removed and taken to an undisclosed location for its safety and storage until another site for it can be determined.

Nesbitt said he is in talks with the city of Conyers about possibly placing the monument in the city cemetery. Also, Walk of Heroes President Tommy Clack said he and the board of directors are willing to have the monument moved to the Walk of Heroes Veterans War Memorial at Black Shoals Park.

The SCV has also filed a similar restraining order against the Henry County Board of Commissioners, who voted 4-1 on June 7 to have the Confederate statue removed from the McDonough Square.

The Newton County Board of Commissioners has reportedly agreed to discuss removal of the Confederate monument on the Covington Square at an upcoming meeting.

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Senior Reporter

Born and raised in Decatur, Ga. Graduated from Shorter College in Rome, Ga. in 1979 with B.A. in Communications. Worked in community newspapers for 26 years. Started at Rockdale Citizen/Newton Citizen in January 2016.

(2) comments

gtmike

im wondering why did the threats go through the chairman office , please correct me if im wrong we still have a city police dept and a sheriff dept i see their cars on the road way! has someone sworn oz in as the sheriff, yeah i dont think so he claims of threats for the reason to do what he did knowing it was wrong he is pro law and always will be in a statement he made on face book .honestly i think he did it for attn it seems how it come about in timing with all that's going on today what better way to make a executive decision and with that call and not the vote are we the tax payers paying to move this statue ,he made the call he needs to flip the bill ,right? i dont know why he is on the street justice should be served not that i will be protessing just think i could use a get out of jail free card its in the courts know where justice should get served

erf

So how does the county get rid of this relic so that it is not "publicly owned" any longer? Auction it as surplus property? Give it back to the original owner?

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