Police: Confederate flag at Stone Mountain Park stolen

Some people want the Confederate battle flag at Stone Mountain Park taken down.

Friday morning, in an unofficial act, someone did.

The flag was stolen, Stone Mountain Park police spokesman John Bankhead told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Who took it, and exactly when they took it, is unknown. The flag was discovered missing about 11 a.m., said Bankhead, who added that an investigation into the theft is ongoing.

The discovery was shortly after the Confederate flag was removed from the South Carolina Capitol.

“It could have been (stolen) overnight,” he said.

The theft would have required some effort. The flagpole from which it was taken stands 30-40 feet high.

The symbolic flag wasn’t down long, however.

Bankhead said as soon as it was discovered missing, it was replaced, and it was flying again before noon Friday.

It was not immediately clear whether security in the area would be changed in light of the incident.

There have been calls to remove the flag from the park because of new controversy over the flag’s symbolism.

At Stone Mountain, the Confederate battle flag is one of five flags on terrace leading to the top of the mountain. Also on the terrace are three Confederate national flags and the current U.S. flag.

Bill Stephens, CEO of the Stone Mountain Memorial Association, the state authority that oversees the park, has said the Confederate flags will remain because by state law Stone Mountain is a Confederate memorial and they can't be removed.

The flag terrace was donated by the United Daughters of the Confederacy in 1964.

The Confederate flag was removed Friday from the grounds of the South Carolina Capitol, ending a long debate over its presence there that was reignited after nine members of a historically black church in Charleston were murdered.