A 2015 event spurred violence and threats against the store owner.
Tommy Daras owns the building that houses Edisto River Creamery in Orangeburg, South Carolina, and much of the land around it, but the small parcel outside his purview is causing his business problems of astronomical proportions. When Daras had bought the land from its former owner, staunch civil rights critic Maurice Bessinger, who had carved out tiny areas containing a flagpole flying the Confederate flag. He gifted this land to the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp, which has continued flying the flag since the sale to Daras in 2015.
However, this particular hate symbol became especially infamous that same year when Dylann Roof opened fire in a black church nearby, killing nine parishioners inside. Since then, Daras has been unwilling to tolerate the symbol in his front yard and has worked hard to fight for its removal — but with no success.
He said to Fox News, “From that day forward, all hell broke loose for me,” Daras said. “My windows were broken out, my phone was ringing off the hook, my employees were harassed. I was fist-fighting with people in the parking lot. Everyone in town assumed it was my property because it looks like it’s attached to this building.”
Orangeburg, where Daras’ shop is located, is a town that is predominately black.
The current custodians of the flag, the Sons of Confederate Veterans, are steadfast in their resolve to keep the flag flying, but citizens in the surrounding the area have picked their own sides in the controversy.
Nonetheless, Daras’ attorney has claimed that the sale documents stipulated no carve-out for the tiny parcel surrounding the flagpole.
There are a number of legal avenues for Daras to pursue the removal of the hate symbol, but none seem as clear cut as the issue of ownership of the plot. Failing that, he’ll have to rely on public knowledge that the hate symbol flying feet from his shop’s entrance has nothing to do with what he believes.