An unidentified man Thursday night pulled down and stole the Confederate battle flag flying over Lenn Park off of Route 3 in eastern Culpeper County.
The Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the person suspected in the destruction of property that occurred around 10:55 p.m. on July 30. A camera in the area of the flagpole captured images of the suspect that were released as still photos Friday morning by the CCSO.
Culpeper County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Les Tyler confirmed Friday morning that the flagpole on which the Confederate flag flew was pulled down and the flag taken.
Calls from local citizens to remove the flag considered offensive by many in the Black community have intensified in recent weeks as part of a nationwide focus on racial injustice following the Memorial Day death of George Floyd. The African-American man took his last breaths on a Minneapolis street with a police officer’s knee on his neck.
Others in Culpeper, considered the most marched upon county in the American Civil War, have called for the removal of the Confederate statue in the courthouse square.
A petition started by Culpeper native Amy Hunter at http://chng.it/YLCfHDHj to remove the Confederate battle flag from Lenn Park has garnered more than 4,500 signatures.
A contingent led by her is expected to speak on the issue during the public comment portion at the Culpeper County Board of Supervisors meeting at 7 p.m. this Tuesday, August 4 in the auditorium at Eastern View High School.
Hunter said on Friday, considering the flag being taken on Thursday night, she still planned to attend the public hearing: "I think we should still show up just in case they are thinking about replacing it."
It is unclear if the Lenn family, who owns the flag parcel, will replace the missing and damaged items. The Confederate battle flag at the county-owned park has flown over the public facility since 2006 when members of the Lenn family, who live next door, gave 85 acres of their farmland to the county for creation of the park.
As part of the agreement, the family specified that the Confederate battle flag and American flag must fly for perpetuity.
The flags fly beside a small monument to Confederate scout William Downs Farley, marking the spot where, according to research by the Lenn brothers, the aide to Gen. J.E.B. Stuart was mortally wounded by artillery fire during the June 9, 1863 Battle of Brandy Station.
Culpeper County government leaders initially claimed they had given the flag parcel back to the Lenns and therefore had no control over it. However, that deed of transfer, giving the small piece of land back to the Lenns, was not officially ratified until July 6.
Anyone with information in the destruction of property and flag theft in Lenn Park is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office non-emergency number at 540/727-7900. Calls may remain anonymous by contacting Culpeper Crime Solvers at 540/727-0300.