Restaurant owner opposed in bid to lower Confederate flag | The Seattle Times
COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Tommy Daras had planned on a small ceremony Wednesday to remove the Confederate flag flying from the edge of the parking lot at his South Carolina restaurant. Then he encountered a hitch.
Two members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans showed up at the flagpole and advised Daras the group owns a small tract of land where the flag flies, deeded to them in 2005 by a former restaurant operator who kept literature supporting slavery in his barbecue joints.
Warned they could have him arrested for trespassing, Daras is now rethinking his options in his bid to replace the Confederate flag with an American flag outside his restaurant.
“I wanted to compromise. I tried to work with them,” Daras said of months of negotiations. “But I realized today they are racists and they are bringing down my business with them.”
Daras said he had talked to the group about putting up a different Confederate flag than the current Stars and Bars, which has been embraced by racial hate groups. He said the flag flying so close to his Edisto River Creamery and Kitchen is bad for his business.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans said they fly the flag and maintain a monument to an 1865 Civil War skirmish on the tiny piece of land to honor their ancestors who fought for the South. They bristle at any suggestions of being racist, noting they can’t control what others choose to use the Confederate battle flag for elsewhere.
If Daras brings down the flag, the group plans to bring him to court, said member Carl Platts.
He stood by the flagpole for nearly an hour Wednesday until Daras gave up. In the event of legal action, he warned, “We’ll take the whole damn place” on a video broadcast live by The Times and Democrat of Orangeburg.
About a dozen police officers stood by, but there was no violence.
Daras bought the restaurant building and opened his eatery in May 2015 at a major intersection about 50 miles south of Columbia, the state capital.
He knew the flag was there and thought nothing of it…