Manatee Board Votes to Move Confederate Statue

BRADENTON (970 WFLA) -- After a heated protest and debate, Manatee County Commissioners have voted 4-3 to move the 22-foot obelisk honoring Confederate soldiers outside the courthouse.

Commissioners decided to move the statue once $12,000 is raised from sources other than taxes. They also plan to ask for public comment on where it should go. They're seeking a location of "(equal) prominence."

Commissioner Charles Smith started with his own $500 check to the county, asking others to write checks and raise money to move the monument, "so that (won't be) an excuse." 

During the debate, Commissioner Vanessa Baugh expressed anger at groups who took part in Monday's protest. "White supremacy and Black Lives Matter... we don't need these groups in Manatee County." She was interrupted by someone in the audience. 

Shakira Refos of Black Lives Matter Manasota says that she's not gloating about the decision. She says BLM Manasota wants people to "come together" on the issue. She's also surprised by Baugh's comparison. "KKK, white nationalists, and Nazis... those are organizations that you compare to ISIS, not Black Lives Matter." 

Three people were arrested during demonstrations Monday evening over the statue. 

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