Jimmy McWhorter

Jimmy McWhorter was the sole demonstrator in front of the Kaufman County Courthouse on Saturday morning. He was joined later by another statue supporter, along with a handful of protesters holding Black Lives Matter signs.

Compared to the initial protest on June 20, which had dozens of people calling for the both the removal and preservation of the statue of the Confederate solider in front of the Kaufman County Courthouse, Saturday’s effort by statue supporters was small.

At 10 a.m., when the demonstration was supposed to begin, one vehicle decorated with a Confederate flag and signs was across the street from the courthouse.

The organizer of the effort, Daryl Demoin, was not in attendance, having been arrested inside the courthouse earlier that morning on four outstanding warrants. He was released later that day.

Later in the morning, another supporter of the statue arrived, as well as a handful of people standing across the street holding signs in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

“To me, it’s not prejudice, it’s history,” said Jimmy McWhorter of Kaufman, the original participant in Saturday’s event. He had a Confederate flag hanging from the back of his minivan, along with signs reading “Keep the statue” and “All lives matter.”

“We’ve all got equal rights,” he continued. “I don’t care what someone does, as long as it doesn’t interfere with my rights.”

The statue is a historical commemoration of people who died in the Civil War, he added, not a sign of racial intolerance.

Business owners on Kaufman Square were pleased that Saturday’s event didn’t impede traffic or block access to businesses, but they are also frustrated the protests are taking place during business hours.

“I just really hope this one is the last one because this is getting old and nothing good or fruitful appears to be coming out of protests on the square at this point,” owner Kari Rough wrote on the Charter Room’s Facebook page.

Protesters on both sides of the issue have the right to express their opinions, but doing so on Sundays or evenings would be appreciated, said Pam Grant, owner of Especially For You Gift Shop and Tearoom. Having to reduce hours or close during the coronavirus has been difficult enough for small business owners, she added.

Protesters on both sides had left by 1 p.m. Saturday as temperatures reached into the upper 90s.

There are at least two online petitions regarding the future of the statue. The Save Kaufman County Texas Confederate Memorial petition has 651 signatures.

On the other side, 1,049 people have signed the petition, “Move Kaufman County’s Confederate Statue to a Cemetery or Museum.” Both petitions are on www.change.org.

On Tuesday, the Kaufman County Commissioners’ Court will discuss forming a Monument Citizens Commission. Their meeting is set to start at 9 a.m. on the second floor meeting room in the courthouse annex. Following the meeting, commissioners have scheduled a workshop on the 2020-21 county budget.

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