Confederate flag emblem removed in South Dakota community

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.

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“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 and about 190 miles (305 kilometers) west of the state’s largest city, Sioux Falls, 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, an uncle of George Floyd, wanted the decal to be removed because they viewed it as a symbol of oppression and hatred. Jones called for the change after Floyd, a Black man, died after police arrested and restrained him on a Minneapolis street May 25.

A white police officer used his knee to pin Floyd’s neck for nearly eight minutes as Floyd begged for air and eventually stopped moving. Floyd’s death led to charges against four officers who took part in the arrest and to worldwide protests over police brutality and racial injustice.

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