CENTRALIA, IL — The City of Centralia has notified a local tow company that due to the placement of a Confederate flag at their business, they will no longer be included on the police department tow list.
In a letter sent Tuesday from Centralia Police Chief Greg Dodson to Jerry Patton – the owner of Jerry and Sons Towing in Central City – advised that the company has been removed from the City’s new tow rotation list effective immediately.
The letter says the company can apply again be included on the list in January and the situation will be re-evaluated at that time.
The flag’s placement was brought to the attention of city officials last month after people retrieving their vehicles towed by the company on city orders threatened to sue, claiming it was a racist display.
The city acknowledged Patton’s First Amendment right to display the flag but noted the city also has the freedom to decide who it does business with. The city council ultimately gave Patton an ultimatum to remove the flag or be taken off the city’s tow list.
In a press release issued Tuesday, Dodson says he feels the Confederate Battle Flag is to the African American Community what the Swastika is to the Jewish community.