North Carolina Court Dismisses Calls To Remove Confederate Monument

The North Carolina Court of Appeals recently ruled that officials in Alamance County who refused to remove a Confederate statue outside of a courthouse acted in compliance with the law.

The court ruled that despite pressure from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and other groups to have the monument removed, county officials did not possess the authority to do so because of North Carolina’s Monument Protection Law.

“Under the Monument Protection Law, the County has no authority to move the Monument,” the court wrote in its opinion. “Regardless of some commission members’ comments or misunderstandings of their legal ability to move the Monument, the rule of law does not change.”

“At all times, the Monument Protection Law has required the County to leave the Monument in its current place. Defendants’ hands are tied — even if they wanted to move the Monument, they could not,” the ruling states.

The court dismissed the NAACP’s argument and that of other plaintiffs that an exception in the law should have paved the way for the monument to be removed.

The Washington Examiner reported that the exception in the law demands that if the monument “poses a threat to public safety because of an unsafe or dangerous condition,” as said by “a building inspector or similar official,” it could be removed.

Plaintiffs in the case noted that a county manager previously expressed his concern over public safety, citing protests against the monument in June 2020. The court dismissed such an argument, saying that a county manager is not a building inspector.

“Because the county manager is not a ‘similar official’ to a building inspector, we conclude the building inspector exception does not apply to the county manager in this case. Accordingly, the trial court correctly determined that no exceptions applied to allow for removal of the Monument,” the court wrote.

The three-judge rule unanimously upheld a 2022 ruling from a trial court over the Monument Protection Law.

Such a ruling comes as Confederate monuments across the country have stirred controversy in multiple states, with officials removing the statues shortly after the death of longtime criminal George Floyd in the summer of 2020.

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