Group released personal info of Confederate statue opponents in Tampa

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – A group opposed to moving the Confederate statue in downtown Tampa is punishing some supporters of the statue’s removal by releasing their personal information.

Anyone who spoke at a recent Hillsborough County Commission meeting in favor of the statue’s removal is named in a newly-released dossier that includes their phone numbers, addresses and in some cases, pictures.  The list was commissioned by Save Southern Heritage Florida, one of two groups who vocally opposed moving the statue.

Tampa Bay historian Fred Hearns is one of the names listed. His St. Petersburg address can be found by his name with the word “imported” emblazoned at the top.

Hearns moved to St. Petersburg three years ago from Tampa, where he was born and raised and lived for 60 plus years.

“I think it’s sad. I think it’s the measures of a desperate group trying to change the conversation,” Hearns said.

Save Southern Heritage Florida explained the motivations behind the drastic measure they took against people like Hearns and said in a press release they “wanted to know who was demanding to take down the veterans memorial.” They also said the “study included nothing other than what can be obtained from public record.”

This is true. It’s as easy as requesting it. Everyone who speaks at public meetings signs in and gives that information.

However, the move did not sit well with everyone on their side of the aisle. The Sons of Confederate Veterans in Florida also opposes the statue’s removal and its only African-American member, Al McCray says he is leaving the local chapter because of the other group’s actions.

“It was dirty dirty politics. It was below the belt punch. Just outrageous,” McCray said.

Saving Southern Heritage said what they found in the study was shocking. They said it was led by “Democratic Party Members and  Marxists-Socialists, part of “resistance summer” lead by the occupy movement and dominated by “social justice warriors” co-mingled with anti-fascists.”

The group said to expect similar releases around the state in the future.

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