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Lawsuit filed against city over Confederate statue removal process

Sons of Confederate Veterans claim First Amendment violation

SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg and the San Antonio City Council have been named in a lawsuit concerning the potential removal of a monument to Confederate soldiers in Travis Park.

The council took input from residents Wednesday night and Thursday, with supporters saying the monument is a part of history and opponents calling it a symbol of hate. Nirenberg put forth an ordinance this week, calling for a vote rather than waiting for the removal request to go through committee.

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Plaintiffs Richard Brewer and Jean Carol Lane of the Texas Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed the federal suit Thursday, claiming their freedom of speech would be impaired by the removal of the statue.

They also say the city does not have the right to remove the statue because it does not hold the title to the land where it resides.

Amid a national discussion about the placement of Confederate monuments, San Antonio City Councilmembers Roberto Trevino and William Shaw were the first to propose the idea of relocating the Travis Park statue.

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The measure spurred opposing demonstrations earlier this month, and has inspired a flurry of public comments.

At Travis Park, workers set up a fence around the monument late Wednesday night, and around Municipal Plaza and council chambers there is an increased police presence because of public safety concerns.