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City: Lawsuit over Confederate-themed flag is 'frivolous'

A Mississippi city is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to block it from flying the state flag that features the Confederate battle emblem.

Posted: May 3, 2018 9:56 AM

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — A Mississippi city is asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit that seeks to block it from flying the state flag that features the Confederate battle emblem.

Ocean Springs says in court papers filed Monday that flag opponents who brought the suit last month lack the legal standing to claim that the flag violates the federal Fair Housing Act.

"These causes of action are completely frivolous and not brought in good faith, but only to harass, intimidate, and waste precious resources of the City," attorney Kevin M. Melchi wrote on behalf of the Ocean Springs government.

Plaintiffs say the Confederate emblem is "racially demeaning and hostile" and that flying the flag sends the message that black people are not welcome.

Ocean Springs City Hall didn't fly the flag for several years under a previous mayor. After a new mayor took office last July, the flag went back up, prompting protests.

Confederate symbols have been the subject of widespread debate across the South, particularly since the 2015 killing of nine worshippers at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, and violence last August when a white nationalist rally took place in Charlottesville, Virginia

Mississippi has used the same flag since 1894, and residents who voted in a 2001 statewide election chose to keep the Confederate emblem on it.

Several city and county governments and all eight of Mississippi's public universities have stopped flying the state flag in recent years amid critics' concerns that it does not properly represent a state where 38 percent of residents are African-American. Supporters of the flag say it represents history.

Ocean Springs is a coastal city with a population of about 17,650, and the lawsuit says about 7.5 percent of the city's residents are black.

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 473413

Reported Deaths: 9214
CountyCasesDeaths
Harrison32339474
Hinds30703575
DeSoto29814346
Jackson23263336
Rankin21111358
Lee14600217
Madison14043265
Jones13165218
Forrest12953233
Lauderdale11418297
Lowndes10249175
Lamar10048128
Pearl River8737209
Lafayette8078136
Hancock7324111
Washington6837147
Oktibbeha6820118
Neshoba6404201
Monroe6372158
Warren6326161
Pontotoc610393
Panola6071124
Bolivar6016143
Marshall5972118
Union564086
Pike5491133
Lincoln5232130
Alcorn520888
George457868
Scott451993
Leflore4401140
Prentiss437276
Itawamba436198
Tippah436180
Simpson4268111
Copiah425586
Wayne424863
Tate4234100
Adams4219114
Yazoo415886
Sunflower4088104
Covington407391
Marion4032100
Leake393185
Coahoma388198
Newton364474
Grenada3517101
Stone345657
Tishomingo324888
Attala321185
Jasper310262
Winston300391
Clay288273
Chickasaw282164
Clarke277487
Calhoun259739
Holmes259485
Smith243947
Yalobusha216747
Tallahatchie215649
Walthall205557
Greene204045
Lawrence203831
Perry196453
Amite193751
Webster191941
Noxubee174538
Montgomery169853
Jefferson Davis165541
Carroll159937
Tunica148434
Benton139433
Kemper137439
Claiborne125634
Choctaw124925
Humphreys123337
Franklin115227
Quitman101825
Wilkinson99835
Jefferson86632
Sharkey62120
Issaquena1916
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 764839

Reported Deaths: 13048
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson1089971721
Mobile698041173
Madison48181574
Baldwin35619445
Shelby35053289
Tuscaloosa32903508
Montgomery32475655
Lee21787203
Calhoun19941374
Morgan19234315
Etowah18509422
Marshall17217258
Houston16028347
St. Clair14866275
Limestone14059179
Elmore13943241
Cullman13942234
Lauderdale13030266
Talladega12307211
DeKalb11829226
Walker10171306
Autauga9439124
Blount9357149
Jackson9055136
Coffee8625157
Colbert8287164
Dale8241151
Escambia6436103
Tallapoosa6353166
Covington6291154
Chilton6215129
Russell590154
Franklin561294
Chambers5211130
Dallas4610176
Marion4579114
Clarke449471
Pike448289
Geneva4223102
Winston404685
Lawrence4040101
Bibb394776
Barbour337067
Marengo319979
Monroe310346
Butler308483
Pickens298369
Randolph291655
Henry291455
Hale285281
Cherokee278249
Fayette270671
Washington242645
Crenshaw231664
Clay220761
Macon213254
Cleburne208746
Lamar186339
Conecuh176538
Lowndes168756
Coosa162531
Wilcox153934
Bullock146842
Perry134035
Sumter122935
Greene118541
Choctaw72225
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