Vote to keep or remove confederate monument back in front of Caddo commission

Vote to keep or remove confederate monument back in front of Caddo commission

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - It's been delay after delay regarding a decision on Caddo Parish's Confederate monument. As other cities remove their monuments, Caddo Parish is still waiting on a decision.

The Caddo Parish Commission could finally be close to making that call. The hot-button topic is back in front of commissioners this week.

The resolution was accepted as part of the consent agenda during Monday's work session. A final vote on removing and relocating the monument will be taken during regular session on Thursday, Oct 19th.

Commissioner Lyndon Johnson, who sponsored the resolution, says its time for a decision.

"We just need to make the vote and get it done," said Johnson.

"To me, the Commission should have made the vote a long time ago instead of doing what we did with the advisory committee which took an additional 9 to 10 months to come up with a recommendation. Then, come to find out the advisory committee had people on it who were actually descendants from the Sons of the Confederacy and Daughters of the Confederacy, so it was bias," said Johnson.

Citing compromise, the advisory committee recommended  keeping the monument at the courthouse but adding additional monuments. The Caddo Commission rejected that proposal and advanced the resolution to remove the monument instead.

There's still anticipated to be a lot more discussion at Thursday's meeting. Commissioners feel the vote will be close. It will take 7 votes out of the 12 commissioners for the removal of the monument to pass.

Another issue at play is who owns the land the monument sits on. Some feel confident the parish does, but others say the land belongs to the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

Local activist John Settle filed a lawsuit asking for a judge to rule on the issue. Settle tells KSLA News 12 his suit has a hearing set for December 11th.

Commissioner Mario Chavez says the commission should have a legal ruling before taking a vote.

"I would be able to make a better decision if we knew who owns that land," said Chavez.

"Right now, we don't have that piece of information."

Chavez says if the commission does vote for removal Thursday, he anticipates an injunction would be filed by the United Daughters of the Confederacy about the land issue and that could be tied up in litigation for years.

Monday, the parish attorney said any litigation regarding the monument would be handled in-house and not by third parties.

Commissioners Johnson and Cawthorne say Thursday's vote would be more of a symbolic vote as it would probably take years before the monument was actually removed.

Commissioner Chavez says if the commission votes to keep the monument, it doesn't mean removal won't come up again in the future.

Commissioners will have to make some sort of decision this Thursday.

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