LOUISVILLE, Ga. (WJBF) – An on-going battle to remove a monument in Louisville continued at a city council meeting tonight.

“If you come in here, you will be arrested for criminal trespassing”

Longtime Louisville resident Eugene Washington was not allowed to attend Tuesday night’s city council meeting.

He says, “I was trying to make sure they didn’t violate my first amendment rights as a citizen.”

He says he wanted to speak out for the removal of the market house monument from downtown Louisville.

“We have done everything that the city has asked us. We got a committee, we had folks to write letters in, and everybody was saying unanimously it needed to be moved,” he said.

Washington says after Mayor Morgan passed back in 2020, Jenny Smith was elected mayor. He says has been removing the discussion of the monument off of the city council agenda.

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Washington said, “So, what she said last December in 2021 she said it take 3 of the 5 council members to have any action on the slave market. Well, what I was asking her last week, has she censored the council members like she tried to censor me.”

Washington says since the most recent city council meeting, he received this letter signed by Mayor Smith saying his attendance was being suspended.

“This paperwork here is not signed officially by no judge,” said Washington.

We spoke to Mayor Smith about the letter Washington received, she didn’t want to go on camera, but says Washington would not follow council meeting decorum. She says he would often speak past the two minute limit during meetings and speak out of turn.

And when it comes to the removal of the market house, Mayor Smith says, it would cost the at least city 300 thousand dollars to remove the monument. She says they’d have to raise property taxes to pay for that but council rejected the increase.

“That’s not true, that is not true,” said Michelle Reeves.

Michelle Reeves is a city council member. She says city council members voted to remove the market but voted against an increase in property taxes, and she says more could’ve been done to get that monument removed

Reeves says, “They have never looked into any other sources to remove it. Never.