Orangeburg restaurant owner takes Confederate flag flight to City Hall | News

The fight over a Confederate flag in one South Carolina city has entered a new battleground: the zoning department. 

A restaurant owner has filed a zoning complaint over a Confederate flag that continues to fly outside his eatery at a prominent Orangeburg intersection not far from South Carolina State University and Claflin University — both historically black colleges — and in a county where African Americans make up more than 60 percent of the population. 

The zoning appeal is the most recent development in a feud between Edisto River Creamery & Kitchen owner Tommy Daras and members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, who maintain they own a disputed cubicle-sized property where the rebel flag pole stands.

The fight is also the latest illustration of the continuing cultural debate over the Confederate flag and other monoliths dedicated to the Confederacy, which have come under more scrutiny since Dylann Roof’s racially-motivated murder of nine black worshipers at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston.

Roof was photographed holding the Confederate flag — an image that led the South Carolina Legislature to vote shortly after the June 2015 shooting to remove the emblem from the Statehouse grounds.

Last November, Daras tried to hold a ceremony to remove the Confederate flag next to his restaurant, which he says keeps away some customers. He was stopped by two members of the pro-Confederate group that threatened to have him arrested for trespassing. 

The Sons of Confederate Veterans say they were deeded the 0.003 acres of land where the flag is displayed by Maurice Bessinger, the former owner of the business location and who was well known in South Carolina for his barbecue chain and open dissemination of white supremacist literature at his Piggie Park restaurants. The site has a small monument…

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