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Rural community in South Dakota removes Confederate flag

Associated Press - July 7, 2020

GETTYSBURG, S.D. (AP) — Officials have confirmed that a logo that included a Confederate flag has been removed from police department cars, buildings and patches in a small South Dakota community named for the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg.

Mayor Bill Wuttke and the City Council issued a joint statement Monday night that said police Chief Dave Mogard has removed the logo from all uniforms, vehicles and buildings

Local residents had earlier said that the department removed decals from its squad cars that featured a Confederate battle flag next to an American flag. Mogard last week had declined to confirm that the decal had been removed.

The council on Monday took no formal action on the emblem, saying it was a decision for the police chief.

“The patch that has been the focus of media coverage in 2020 was applied in 2009 solely by the authority of the office of police chief,” the statement said. “This officer is no longer employed by the city of Gettysburg.”

Gettysburg, which is in central South Dakota was named after the famous battle in and around Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, that many view as the turning point of the Civil War.

Several local residents, including Selwyn Jones, wanted the decal to be removed because they viewed it as a symbol of oppression and hatred. Jones called for the change after his nephew George Floyd, died after police arrested and restrained him on a Minneapolis street May 25.

This is not the first time the use of the Confederal flag by Gettysburg's police department has been challenged. For decades, and most recently in 2015, Lynn "Smokey" Hart, an African American and a member of the Yankton Sioux Tribe called for the divisive symbol to be removed from the patch. Hart was also instrumental in the state establishing Native American Day in South Dakota.

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