- The Washington Times - Monday, May 18, 2015

A black Alabama attorney and former Democratic state senator is under fire for removing the Confederate flags that decorated soldiers’ graves at an old Confederate cemetery in downtown Union Springs.

Myron Penn is facing calls to be to be arrested and disbarred, and has even received death threats after he and members of his family pulled the flags up at the city-owned cemetery on Mother’s Day. A bag containing the flags now sits at Union Springs City Hall, a local NBC affiliate reported.

Mr. Penn, a founding partner at Penn & Seaborn Attorneys at Law, said he did it for his 4-year-old son.

“The reason why we picked them up is because the image of the flags in our community, a lot of people feel that they’re a symbol of divisiveness and oppression of many people in our community,” he told the station. “Especially with the history that that flag and the connotation and negativism that it brings. I would think that no one in our community would have a problem with this or with my actions at all.”

Some of Mr. Penn’s critics cite Alabama Code 13A-7-23.1, which states that it’s against the law to “willfully and wrongfully or maliciously destroy, remove, cut, break, or injure any tree, shrub, plant, flower, decoration, or other real or personal property within any cemetery or graveyard,” the station reported.

A representative of a local chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans said he is considering legal action.

Mr. Penn, who served as state senator for two terms, said no laws were broken and that anyone can come to City Hall to claim their flags.

“I invite anyone to say how I’ve broken the law by removing the flags,” he said. “They’re making my point with the ugly comments and the meanness. It’s exactly why those flags shouldn’t be there in our community because that’s not what our community stands for. We want our community to grow.”

Mayor Saint T. Thomas Jr. said an outside group illegally placed the flags in the cemetery without city permission.

“Something happened that should not have happened,” he told the NBC affiliate. “The group who put them down should have asked for permission from the city council. They had no business putting them out in the first place.”

A group called the Defenders of the Confederate Cross is planning a protest in Union Springs June 19-20.

“While we DO NOT CONDONE acts of violence against any one, this has nothing to do with race, slavery, or oppression,” the group said in a statement, the station reported. “This has alot to do with people walking on and disregarding Confederate heritage. In 1958 congress ruled confederate veterans are AMERICAN veterans and D.C.C. will see that they are treated as such. We will replace the flags that were illegally removed and keep a ever present eye on all Confederate Veterans graves!”

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