Confederate statue moving to private cemetery

- In a reversal to last month's vote over whether or not to remove a Confederate monument from outside the Hillsborough County Courthouse, commissioners voted Wednesday to relocate the statue.

The vote was 4-2 to remove the statue and allow the Florida Daughters of the Confederacy to relocate the monument to the Brandon Family Cemetery. Commissioners Stacey White and Ken Hagan were the two dissenting votes.

Last month, Hillsborough County commissioners narrowly voted to keep the Confederate soldiers monument outside their building. A diversity mural was voted to be created behind it.

More than 100 residents showed up to give public comment which lasted about three hours during the last vote, and public comment lasted almost as long with more than 100 residents Wednesday.

After the vote, Commissioner Les Miller, who proposed both motions to remove the monument, called the decision to remove it a victory.

"It's the right thing to do," Miller said. "I've been working on this a long time. Before I became a county commissioner, I saw the monument there going into the law library. The law library was there. I was a student at USF studying constitutional law. I said, 'maybe one day I'll get the opportunity to move that thing. Well the Lord had it come around."

Opponents of the decision, however, had other words for it.

"This entire movement is predicated on things that simply are not true. And it's a shame. It's very much a shame and it's a sad day," said Phil Walters, with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. "If this monument represents hate and racism, slavery and treason -- which it does not -- then where's it going to stop?"

RELATED: Florida Daughters of the Confederacy president supports statue move

Commissioner Sandy Murman had voted in June to leave the monument but changed her mind and became the swing vote in this decision.

Murman attributed her change of heart to a private donor offering to raise the funds needed to relocate the monument, taking the financial burden away from taxpayers.

Additionally, the Florida president of the United Daughters of Confederacy told FOX 13 last week she favored moving the monuments away from government property.

Commissioners hope to have the statue relocated within 60 days.

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