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Lawyer Demands Removal Of Leesburg Confederate Statue

6:47 PM, May 15, 2013   |    comments
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LEESBURG, Va. (WUSA) -- The Confederate war memorial has stood outside the the courthouse here for more than a century.

But a Leesburg lawyer says it is now way past time for it to go.

"You are approaching a person with an outstretched rifle..." says John Flannery. "What kind of symbol does that send to you if you are a person of color in the South?"

Symbols can be important. Especially outside a courthouse, where the state has the power to take your freedom. "What it says to me is that you can't expect equal justice under law," says Flannery.

Flannery says a tribute to the Confederate dead sends exactly the wrong message. And he's far from alone. Johnny Chambers was about to go before a judge. "It's hard to get justice when you got people that live in this area, that run this country, that believe in this system," Chambers says, pointing at the statue. 

Flannery says when he started practicing law in Leesburg, there was also an old whipping post and stockade outside the courthouse. But lots of people see it as history worth remembering. "This is just a memory of a Confederate soldier," says Burke Walker, who also practices law at the courthouse. "I think it should stay. I don't think it should be moved at all."

Supporters say there are similar statues outside courthouses all over the Commonwealth. "Doesn't make it right," says Flannery. "Racism was all over the South. Slavery was all over the South."

Take it down, he says, move it to a museum or a confederate cemetery.He's waiting to see how the Loudoun County leaders respond. But if nothing he's done, he's considering a lawsuit -- in federal court.

Loudoun County Board Chair Scott York said through an aide that he needs more time to think about Flannery's demand that the Confederate statue come down.

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