MONTGOMERY, AL (WBRC) - The Confederate flags at the Confederate memorial at the Alabama Capitol and the Battle Flag in the Old House Chamber have been removed.
A national debate over Confederate Flags was sparked by a shooting at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, SC where a gunman claimed the lives of nine African Americans attending bible study. Photographs discovered online appear to show the suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, a white male, burning the American Flag while holding the Confederate Battle Flag.
According to the press secretary from Governor Robert Bentley's Office, the Governor ordered the flags removed from the Confederate Memorial on the Capitol grounds so they would not be a distraction to other state issues.
"It is offensive to some people. One type of flag is offensive to some people because unfortunately for some people it's like the swastika," Bentley said.
Bentley told WAFF reporter Trent Butler the future of the flags has not been decided but they may end up at the First White House of the Confederacy. The Governor also says he does not expect negative reaction from his own party after removing the flags.
Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Dist 2) issued the following statement:
Representatives Terri Sewell (D-Dist. 7) issued the
"The Confederate flag is a part of the South's past, and that is where it should remain. Thank you @GovernorBentley for removing the flag."
She released this full statement later on Wednesday:
"The Confederate flag is a part of the South's past, and that is where it should remain. I applaud Governor Bentley for removing the Confederate flag from the grounds of the State Capitol. His actions demonstrate the need for us to close that chapter of our history. The Confederate flag represents the fight for slavery and is a symbol of hate, not heritage. Our state government should not sanction bigotry but promote unity and respect for the rights of all Alabamaians. It is time to leave behind racist vestiges of our past. The removal of the confederate flag by Southern states, while lauded, is not the remedy for the hatred and racism that led to the fatal church shooting of nine African-Americans in Charleston, South Carolina. There is still much work to do in this nation's quest for racial equality. We must be vigilant on every level from how we educate our children, to removing discrepancies in sentencing laws, to eliminating the barriers that restrict access to voting. Lasting legal and political changes like these will lead to substantive behavioral changes."