Federal judge denies motion to halt removal of Caddo monument

Judgement rules on monument

CADDO PARISH, LA (KSLA) - A federal judge has issued a ruling Friday morning to deny a motion to halt the removal of the Caddo Parish Confederate monument.

The US District Court for the Western District of Louisiana denied the motion by the United Daughters of the Confederacy (UDC) to halt the removal of the Confederate monument at the Caddo Parish Courthouse.

The Parish is pleased that the Court accepted our arguments that the UDC does not own the land under the monument," said Donna Frazier, Parish Attorney.

"The Parish is prepared for the next phase of litigation," said Frazier.

The Court determined that the UDC could not prove that it has ownership of the land on which the monument sits.

"The UDC faces the uphill battle of trying to prove that the words of 1903 minutes are sufficient to establish its ownership of that plot as a matter of law," writes Judge James in the ruling. "Based on the evidence presented, the Court concludes that UDC has failed to meet that burden, or to show that it is entitled to relief otherwise," noted Judge James.

The full ruling can be found here.

Caddo Commissioner Steven Jackson told us what he thinks the judge's ruling says about UDC's pending federal lawsuit claiming it owns the land where the monument stands.

"I think from a legal perspective and in my mind, it sort of solves it. Because what the judge clearly says was it's an uphill battle for the UDC to prove the merits of the case," said Jackson.

While the judge ruled the United Daughters of the Confederacy failed to show it could likely prove its case, monument supporters hope the UDC moves forward with its federal lawsuit because of what's at stake.

"You don't go in and start tearing down history, nowhere. You don't tear down history, you don't tear down heritage. When you start doing that, you're erasing it," said supporter Rex Dukes.

But the Caddo Commission doesn't even meet again until a work session on February 5th, and a full meeting three days later -

If commissioners vote to remove the monument, the question then becomes when to do so. If they spend the nearly $300,000 estimated to pay for the move, but then lose the federal lawsuit to the UDC, they would have to return the monument, not to mention pay for any damages to it.

Commissioner Jackson told us the earliest they could see a final passage of a measure to move the Confederate monument would be in late February. But he said they are in no hurry to take action, especially with such an emotionally-charged issue.

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