Tampa attorney raising funds to move controversial Confederate statue

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Tampa attorney Tom Skarritt knows the controversial Confederate statue in downtown Tampa in front of the Hillsborough County Courthouse Annex belongs, but he believes it belongs somewhere else.

“It just seemed to me to be inappropriate there. I mean, this is where people go to get justice, right?” said Skarritt from his office. “And that didn’t seem to be an appropriate symbol.”

Skarritt met with his friend, Commissioner Sandy Murman, and asked if it would be helpful if he helped raise the money needed to relocate the memorial.

Murman responded “absolutely.”

Skarritt addressed commissioners on Wednesday and told them why he felt passionate about such a fundraising effort.

“So, why am I doing this? Because I think we have a tremendous opportunity here,” Skarritt told commissioners. “Cities throughout the south are struggling with how to deal with their statues.”

Other cities include Orlando and New Orleans. In New Orleans, statues were removed and relocated in darkness, under a police escort to avoid potential problems. Skarritt believes Tampa is better than that.

“There are people that want to take a sledge hammer to that statue, and they want to do that because they want to obliterate oppression and racism and bigotry. If they did that, they would probably feel pretty good, but not for long,” said Skarritt.

“My appeal today was to have the people of Hillsborough County be the role models. When you feel strongly about something, you sit down and you talk. When you feel strongly about something, you sit down and you talk with others respectfully, and most of the people who expressed themselves [at the county commission] today did that.”

Skarritt hopes to raise $200,000 to relocate and help maintain the memorial. He’s banking on donations from large businesses and sports teams who want to see the statue find a new home. He’s also set up a GoFundMe page where anyone can make a pledge.

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