After desecration of cemetery where Confederate soldiers are buried, Mississippi mayor said maximum penalty will be imposed

Published 7:10 am Tuesday, June 8, 2021

After grave markers were broken and knocked down in a plot where Confederate soldiers are buried, one Mississippi mayor said he wants the maximum penalty for people desecrating graves at the city’s cemetery.

Mayor George Flaggs Jr. said Monday the city will be watching out for people desecrating graves at the city’s Cedar Hill Cemetery, and anyone caught could face a heavy fine, jail time or both.

The mayor at Monday’s meeting of the Board of Mayor and Aldermen said he had received reports that some graves were recently desecrated in the cemetery.

City Sexton Venable Moore said Monday afternoon four or five grave markers were knocked down or broken in the area of Soldiers Rest, a plot in the cemetery where Confederate soldiers who died during the Siege of Vicksburg are buried. He said the damaged markers have been repaired and replaced.

“We are in the process of putting cameras in the cemetery,” Flaggs said. “I feel strong about desecrating a cemetery and we ought to give the maximum penalty for desecrating a cemetery.”

According to state law, desecrating a grave or cemetery is a misdemeanor with a maximum penalty of a $500 fine and one year in jail. Under Vicksburg’s code of ordinances, the maximum penalty for desecrating a grave is a $1,000 fine and 90 days in jail.

Flaggs said he wants to send a message to anyone desecrating the cemetery or a grave.

“I want the maximum misdemeanor fine and jail time for anyone desecrating a cemetery,” Flaggs said. “Everyone has the right to have their loved one’s remains or grave protected in this city. At some point in time, there’s two things we’re not going to have — desecrating a cemetery and discharging a firearm in this city. I’ve had enough.”