COVINGTON — Newton County Chief Superior Court Judge John Ott on Monday will hear from two plaintiffs seeking to stop the Board of Commissioners from removing the Confederate monument from the downtown Covington Square.
The General George “Tig” Anderson Camp and Georgia Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans have joined Covington resident Tiffany Davis Humphries in seeking to stop the removal of the statue. Both plaintiffs will be heard in a joint hearing Monday at 9:30 a.m. at the Horace J. Johnson Jr. Judicial Center in Covington.
Ott issued an order joining the two cases Thursday. According to the order, the plaintiffs should be prepared to brief the various issues they think are involved with this case and be prepared to present any evidence they believe necessary to support their position. The court also wants the parties to explore the following legal issues:
• Does the plaintiff have standing to petition the court for injuctive relief?
• Does the county, in light of Georgia law, have the right to order the remove of the statue?
• Does sovereign immunity apply in this case?
According to the court order, all Centers for Disease Control and court guidelines will be strictly enforced for anyone attending the hearing. Masks will be required social distancing will be enforced and only the number of people allowed under CDC guidelines will be allowed in the courtroom.
The Newton County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday night approved a motion to remove the statue from the Covington Square in an effort to protect it. Chairman Marcello Banes said he had received “credible threats” from people aiming to damage or deface the monument.
The county intends to place the statue in storage until a suitable location can be found.