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Flaggs: Vicksburg to crack down on grave desecration; wants maximum penalty

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.”

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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