All four Confederate flags posted at Alabama state Capitol’s Confederate memorial were removed Wednesday morning following a quiet order from the state’s governor, Robert Bentley (R).
The Confederate battle flag was removed from the Capitol around 8:20 a.m. Gov. Bentley, who left the building a short while later, confirmed to inquiring reporters that he ordered the removal of the flags. AL.comreports:
Asked his reasons for taking it down and if it included what happened in Charleston last week, the governor said, “Yes, partially this is about that. This is the right thing to do. We are facing some major issues in this state regarding the budget and other matters that we need to deal with. This had the potential to become a major distraction as we go forward. I have taxes to raise, we have work to do. And it was my decision that the flag needed to come down.”
Bentley said before he made the final decision he checked to see if there were any impediments in the law or state policy that would prevent him from taking down the flag and found none, so he acted.
The other Civil War-era flags removed are the First National Confederate Flag (known as “Stars and Bars”), the Second National Confederate Flag (known as the “Stainless Banner”), and the Third National Confederate Flag.
The removal comes just a day after South Carolina lawmakers agreed to debate whether the Confederate battle flag should be removed from Statehouse grounds. Following the tragic Charleston Mother Emanuel AME church shooting that left nine dead, retailers like Walmart, Sears, Etsy, and Amazon have banned the sale of Confederate flag items.
Dylann Roof, the accused 21-year-old gunman seen in social media photos holding the Confederate flag, told authorities he shot the victims because they were Black.