Gwinnett County does not comment on pending litigation, a spokesperson said. Commissioners last year unanimously voted to remove the monument after two acts of vandalism, saying the its safety, and public safety, was in jeopardy.
The suit asks for the monument to be reinstated and for the county to pay three times the cost of replacement and any necessary repairs. It also seeks punitive damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.
The monument’s location has not been disclosed since it was carted off.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans’ Major William E. Simmons Camp No. 96, based in Lawrenceville, paid for the monument’s installation in 1993, according to the lawsuit. It consists of granite slabs with carvings of an early Confederate flag, a Confederate soldier and inscriptions including the dates 1861-1865, a quote from Winston Churchill and “LEST WE FORGET.”
Many celebrated the monument’s removal, calling it a symbol of hate.
King argued that World War II soldiers are celebrated even though the military at the time was segregated and ran Japanese internment camps.
“I think it’s clear that monuments like this one were put up not in tribute to slavery but in tribute to bravery,” he said. “Any time soldiers are sent into the field, there are some positive and negative motivations behind it.”