KINGMAN — Kimgman Mayor Jen Miles is calling for civility, respect and tolerance as area residents debate everything from COVID-19 restrictions to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Miles said she was thankful that recent BLM demonstrations at Locomotive Park downtown were mostly peaceful and without injury.
And she hopes it remains that way.
Miles told fellow council members last week that she and City Manager Ron Foggin have been bombarded with emails regarding display and sale of the Confederate flag at the Thunder-Rode apparel business adjacent to the park. Owner Jack Alexander has a poster board on his property that denotes the history of the “Battle Flag.”
Confederate flags and other monuments and symbols of the Civil War have been under scrutiny during racial activism across the nation. Many have called for their removal from state capitol grounds, courthouses and other public property.
Miles said Kingman resident Dominic Tapia has encouraged like-minded fellow residents to send emails to city officials urging them to allow a BLM symbol to be displayed in the park, to counterbalance the Confederate flag’s presence at Thunder-Rode.
Alexander has countered with his own letter to city officials contending he has rights as an American, a business owner and a taxpayer to fly, display and sell the flags.
Miles said she and Foggin have decided that the city should respect everyone’s constitutional rights. She said it would be inflammatory for the city to take one side or another.
“It’s time to de-escalate. It is not a position for this city to try to take sides at this point,” Miles said. “Our position is that as a city we are going to uphold the oaths that we took to allow people to exercise their rights but maintain decorum and civility the best that we can.”
A Public Works employee with the City of Kingman spent part of Wednesday afternoon cleaning up racist graffiti sprayed at separate locations in an alley downtown. The messages spray painted onto the pavement used the “N-word” to communicate that African Americans are not welcome in Kingman.
The graffiti was mitigated within 90 minutes of the slurs being reported to city officials.