Court rules Sons of Confederate Veterans can pursue Forrest lawsuit

The state Court of Appeals has reversed a Shelby County judge’s dismissal of a lawsuit against the city stemming from City Council’s 2013 decision to change the names of three city parks including Health Sciences Park, which previously was named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, reports the Commercial Appeal. A man was charged, meanwhile, with vandalizing a statute of Forrest.

Shelby County Chancellor Kenny Armstrong had ruled that the groups involved in the suit did not have standing to challenge City Council’s resolution to change the parks’ names.

“On appeal, we hold that the allegations of the complaint are sufficient to establish standing as to one of the organizations, Sons of Confederate Veterans Nathan Bedford Forrest Camp #215. We therefore reverse the trial court‘s dismissal as to that organization,” Judge Brandon O. Gibson wrote.

(Note: The full decision is HERE.)

Meanwhile, overnight Thursday, a vandal struck the statue again, painting the words “Aw Go What” on both sides of the statue’s base Thursday night.

Leo Awgowhat, 43, was arrested Friday. He was charged with desecration of a venerated object and trespass or injury to a cemetery property, said Memphis police spokesman Louis Brownlee.

The incident occurred two days after the City Council voted to remove the politically charged monument to the Confederate officer from Health Sciences Park and 10 days after someone painted “Black Lives Matter’’ on the front of the statue’s base. Statue admirers had quickly scrubbed clean the monument after the earlier act of vandalism.