In one South Carolina town, the movement to remove Confederate symbols has an unlikely champion: a local ice cream parlor.
Edisto River Creamery & Kitchen has filed an appeal to the city of Orangeburg for placing a stop-work order on property he claims to be his, the Times and Democrat reports.
The reason: the small parcel of land is the site of a Confederate flag. The ice cream shop’s owner, Tommy Daras, says he has received pressure from customers and locals who believe the flag to be part of his business.
Daras wants to tear it down and replace it with a 2-foot-high, 25-foot-long, “freedom wall.” The wall will feature a 6-foot-tall, 8-foot-wide digital sign and be accompanied by an American flag. Plans for the project show the word “Freedom” written in large letters embossed on the wall.
But Daras’ “freedom wall” faces a major obstacle. The piece of land on which the Confederate flag lies doesn’t belong to him, but to Sons of the Confederate Veterans Camp 842 (SCV).
The Confederate flag is part of a monument remembering Gen. William T. Sherman’s crossing of the Edisto River at that very spot. A stone marker near the foot of the flag pole reads “We fly this Confederate flag to honor the Confederate soldiers who gallantly fought and died defending the bridge crossing at the Edisto River against Gen. Sherman’s troops February 12, 1865.”
Daras is now embroiled in a feud with SCV after he began to mark out the property and cut concrete to begin his “freedom wall” project–which would involve taking the Confederate flag down.
Upon receiving word of Daras’ intentions, SCV put barriers up around their monument. An hour later, the city issued a halt order on Daras’ work.
The ice cream shop owner then removed the barriers so he could dig up the monument. But SCV restored the barriers. Buzz Braxton, the keeper of the flag, says SCV will bring in dirt to replace what is taken out by Daras.
“We are going to put dirt back,” Braxton said. “We are going to have to bring in more dirt. It is an inconvenience to do this.” Braxton, who drives by the flag every morning, asserts SCV will not relent in its defense of the monument, saying “It is the principle. We are going to keep up the fight.”
Orangeburg officials state the city won’t get involved in a property dispute. The Orangeburg Department of Public Safety refuses to participate in what it considers a civil matter.
Meanwhile, State Rep. Justin Bamberg, D-Bamberg is volunteering on Daras’ behalf, arguing that the flag violates the city’s zoning ordinance. The Orangeburg Board of Zoning Appeals’ ruled that city zoning doesn’t regulate flag poles. Daras is appealing this decision to a circuit court.
Daras purhcased the land for his ice cream parlor from the late Maurice Bessinger, who donated the small plot of land in question to the SCV before his deal with Daras. The flag was already there when Edisto River Creamery & Kitchen was built.
Daras currently claims his deed included the .003-acre parcel with the flag. But his stance contradicts past positions.
The Daras family complained about the flag back when they first opened their ice cream shop in 2015, WSPA reports. Interestingly, they didn’t anticipate the problem before they bought the property.
Daras’ wife, Debbie, even acknowledged at the time that the parcel of land housing the flag did not belong to them. “There’s nothing we can do,” she said. “I mean, we can’t take that flag down. That is not our property.”
The sudden flip-flop is no surprise. Liberals don’t shy away from lying–even about their own statements–if it advances their agenda.