George Floyd’s uncle Selwyn Jones said in an interview this week that he asked the mayor of Gettysburg, South Dakota to remove the Confederate flag from the logo of the town’s police department.
Jones told the Minneapolis Star Tribune that he talked to Gettysburg Mayor Bill Wuttke about removing the flag several weeks ago on a phone call the same day he attended George Floyd’s funeral. Jones is one of the few black residents of the small South Dakota town, according to the report. (RELATED: University Of Mississippi To Remove Prominent Confederate Statue Near Main Building)
George Floyd’s uncle says it is time for Gettysburg, South Dakota, to take the Confederate stars and bars off the city’s police emblem, which was adopted in 2009.
— Dan Catchpole ???? (@dcatchpole) June 11, 2020
Nationwide protests erupted after a video showing Floyd’s death while in Minneapolis Police custody, after an officer knelt on his neck for over eight minutes. The demonstrations started national conversations about police reform, race relations and the public use of Confederate names and symbols.
“‘Bill, we really have the Confederate flag on our police uniforms?” Jones said he asked Wuttke during the call. “‘Man, that’s got to go.'”
Jones told the Star Tribune Wuttke replied, “We’ll see about it.” He also told the outlet “that’s what a white guy in control and power says.”
Wuttke has reportedly rejected the idea of removing the Confederate flag from the South Dakota town’s police logo. He told the Star Tribune Tuesday that the police department is “working on something different,” that the change is being pushed by outsiders and doesn’t reflect his wishes or those of the roughly 1,200 people who live in Gettysburg.
He called it “ridiculous” in his interview with the Star Tribune, adding that he thought most citizens “don’t have any idea” the Confederate flag is on the logo.
“We’re not wanting the liberals and the press telling us we have to change it,” he added. “People here do not feel it’s racism.”
Names and symbols associated with the Confederacy have been removed in recent weeks during the protests, either forcibly or via legal process. Rioters have toppled a number of Confederate statues and those of other historical figures including Thomas Jefferson, Christopher Columbus and Ulysses S. Grant.
Republican Mississippi Governor Tate Reeves signed a bill Tuesday that would change their state flag so that it would not include the Confederate emblem. The Army has said that they are “open” to renaming bases that honor Confederate fighters.
The Gettysburg City Council is reportedly planning to vote on the fate of the Confederate flag Monday.