Case involving Gwinnett Confederate statue dismissed after removal

A crew works to remove a Confederate monument from its place on the grounds of the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse in Lawrenceville, Georgia, on Feb. 4. The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Jan. 19 to remove the monument, overturning the decision of their predecessors from almost three decades before. In 1993, county commissioners gave permission for the monument to be installed at the request of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. (Casey Sykes/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS) AJC FILE PHOTO
A crew works to remove a Confederate monument from its place on the grounds of the Gwinnett Historic Courthouse in Lawrenceville, Georgia, on Feb. 4. The Gwinnett County Board of Commissioners voted unanimously on Jan. 19 to remove the monument, overturning the decision of their predecessors from almost three decades before. In 1993, county commissioners gave permission for the monument to be installed at the request of the United Daughters of the Confederacy. (Casey Sykes/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/TNS) AJC FILE PHOTO

Credit: TNS

Credit: TNS

A lawsuit filed to spur the removal of a Confederate monument from Lawrenceville’s downtown square has been dismissed, after the statue was removed earlier this month.

Gwinnett County commissioners in January voted to remove the memorial, which had been erected in 1993. It’s been in storage since the night of Feb. 4.

The commissioners’ action came after Solicitor Brian Whiteside filed a lawsuit this summer, declaring that the statue was a “public nuisance” and relocating it “will prevent injury and unrest while at the same time protecting and preserving the monument in compliance with — and indeed fulfillment of — Georgia law.”

State law prohibits the removal or relocation of Confederate monuments, except “for the preservation, protection, and interpretation” of them.

Whiteside said he asked that the case be dismissed because the statue no longer presents a problem.

“I think everything has been accomplished that I sought,” he said.

Joseph Bath, commander of the Lawrenceville camp of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, said he was not aware of the Feb. 8 dismissal that closed the case. Bath said he has filed an open records request to find out where the county is holding the monument, but he has not seen it since it was taken down.

“I’m really upside down and backwards,” he said. “They have our monument somewhere. They haven’t told us where it’s at and it is ours.”

County Commissioner Kirkland Carden said he expects the county to reach out to Bath’s group about picking up the monument, so it can be relocated. Carden said when the parties were negotiating, Gwinnett was willing to cover the costs to move it to a Jackson County cemetery.

“We just want to end this chapter, end this saga,” he said. “Wherever it will be, it will not be in the Lawrenceville square.”

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