Hattiesburg Mayor orders removal of state flag
HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Mississippi flags have been removed at the City of Hattiesburg police and fire stations.
Mayor Johnny DuPree's spokesperson, Chinika Hughes, says Mississippi Flags have been removed per the mayor's order.
"While there were state flags that were flown at city-owned buildings, the state flag at City Hall has not been up for several years," said Mayor Johnny DuPree. "We have removed the state flags to honor the lives of the nine individuals slain in the church shooting in Charleston, SC, their families, and community as they mourn. We are extending the same show of support as they did during our time of distress," he said.
Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn released a statement regarding the Mississippi Flag earlier this week.
"We must always remember our past, but that does not mean we must let it define us," Gunn said Monday night in a Facebook post. "As a Christian, I believe our state's flag has become a point of offense that needs to be removed. We need to begin having conversations about changing Mississippi's flag."
On Wednesday, both of Mississippi's United States senators, Republicans Roger Wicker and Thad Cochran, called for the flag to be changed and to remove the Confederate symbol.
Lieutenant Governor Tate Reeves released a statement that said if voters wanted to revisit the flag on the ballot after the 2001 decision to keep it, "it will best be decided by the people of Mississippi."
Governor Phil Bryant said Thursday he would not call a special session to consider changing the flag.
"Mississippi flags have been removed in observance of showing support for what happened in South Carolina," Hughes explained.
Hughes said the mayor did not give a date on when or if the flags would go back up.
This is a developing story, stay tuned to wdam.com for more updates.