Alabama lawmaker wants Confederate flag off trooper uniforms

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — An Alabama legislator wants the state to remove the Confederate flag from the uniforms of state troopers.

Rep. Alvin Holmes, D-Montgomery, sent a Wednesday letter to Gov. Robert Bentley asking him to issue an executive order to change the uniforms that include a patch of Alabama's coat of arms. The emblem includes an image of the Confederate flag and other flags that have flown over Alabama.

"As you know, the confederate flag represents slavery and oppression toward black people," Holmes wrote. He said the flag is also associated with the Ku Klux Klan.

Holmes said he hoped the state had passed that "ugly part of Alabama history."

The trooper uniforms include Alabama's coat of arms: a shield with the Confederate battle flag and the flags of Great Britain, France, Spain and the United States — the nations that have held sovereignty over Alabama. Underneath the shield is the state's motto, "We dare defend our rights" written in Latin.

The state coat of arms was designed in 1923 and officially adopted by the Alabama Legislature in 1939, according to the Alabama Department of Archives and History.

Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis said the governor has no plans to issue such an order.

Bentley earlier this year removed four Confederate flags from the grounds of the Alabama Capitol grounds amid national controversy about the official display of Confederate emblems on government grounds after the massacre of nine people at a black church in South Carolina. The white suspect, Dylann Storm Roof, posed in photos displaying Confederate flags and burning or desecrating U.S. flags.

"That was the right decision and I still believe it," Bentley said in an interview last week.

But other vestiges of the Confederacy remain on the Capitol grounds, including an 88-foot-tall Alabama Confederate Monument and a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis.

Holmes was one of 14 African-American legislators arrested for trespassing in 1988 when they tried to scale a fence and take down a Confederate flag that, at that time, flew atop the Alabama Capitol dome. The flag was later removed from the dome in the 1990s.

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