Shop Owner Wants to Build a 'Freedom Wall' Next to Confederate Monument

WE HAVE AN UPDATE TONIGHT ON A STORY WE HAVE BEEN FOLLOWING.. IT HAS TO DO WITH A CONFEDERATE FLAG THAT FLIES OUTSIDE AN ORANGEBURG ICE CREAM SHOP. THE FORMER OWNER OF THE BUILDING....MAURICE BESSIGNER....DEEDED A TINY PIEVE OF LAND NEXT TO THE BUSINE

Columbia, SC (WLTX) - A Confederate flag and monument still stand next to an Orangeburg ice cream shop, despite the owners attempts to remove it.

"I'm fighting this thing until the end," says Tommy Daras, owner of Edisto River Creamery and Kitchen.

The Edisto River Creamery and Kitchen that sits on John C. Calhoun Dr. was formerly owned by Maurice Bessinger, of Maurice's Piggie Park.

Bessinger deeded a 130 square foot piece of land next to the business to the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV), so that they could fly the flag.

Daras has been trying to legally remove the flag and monument and took his concerns to the Orangeburg zoning board, but they ruled the flying of the flag didn't break any zoning laws.

Now, he's working to remove the flag on his own. Last week, he obtained a permit from the city of Orangeburg to build a "freedom wall," right next to the monument and flag. 

"This is a picture of the drawings and this is a 25 foot wall," says Daras. "After I put the sign and the wall in, we're going to change the flagpole. It's on my property legally."

Daras began digging around the monument to begin construction.

"We did a little construction on that Friday night, we cut the concrete and got ready for the little backhoe we got to cut the concrete and put a foundation in for the wall," says Daras, but he was met with opposition. "When I was on the way down here my employees called and said the Sons of the Confederacy were down here blockading the property."

Barricades and private property signs were put up around the monument and flag. On Monday, an order by the city to stop construction.

Daras says he'll wait until the city gives him the go ahead, but he wants the flag and memorial removed sooner than later.

"I'll be here until the day it goes down," says Daras.

He says he doesn't want to destroy the monument. In fact, he wants to donate the monument to the SCV Santee Chapter. Currently the Rivers Bridge Camp #842 of the SCV owns the property.

We reached out to the chapter and were told they have been advised not to speak about the recent attempt to remove the monument. However, the SCV is planning to file criminal charges against Daras for malicious injury to property.

© 2017 WLTX-TV


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