Video post by Colleton Co. Senator causes stir over Confederate flag

Video post by Colleton Co. Senator causes stir over Confederate flag
Comments attached to the original Facebook post on the Senator personal page (Source: Jennifer Roy)
Comments attached to the original Facebook post on the Senator personal page (Source: Jennifer Roy)

COLLETON COUNTY, SC (WCSC) - A Facebook post by a Colleton County Senator has some residents in her district calling for her resignation.

Senator Margie Bright Matthews posted a video on Facebook Monday morning of what appears to be a procession of trucks, cars, and motorcycles driving by her home waving the Confederate Flag.

In the post with the video Matthews wrote, "Shame, shame, shame!!"

The video and post has sparked some controversy from those who rode in the procession Sunday evening.

The ride was in memory of Marshall "Bubba" Catterton, 28, of Walterboro.

"It was a memorial for him," said Kay Catterton, Marshall's mother. "He was a good country boy. His friends wanted to do something for him."

Catterton died Saturday night on Jefferies Highway at Honey Drive when he and his friend Casey Parrott, 17, of Walterboro, were hit by a car.

Friends say the two were trying to move a deer's body from the road when they were hit by a van.

Friends and family organized a memorial ride in honor of Catterton, complete with the Confederate Flag, which friends say was for heritage, not hate or racism.

"We met at the old Longhorn restaurant and then rode through communities in Walterboro," said Caitlin Simmons, of Walterboro. "We then went past Casey's home which is on the same road Senator Bright lives on."

Several people responded to Matthews' post agreeing with the Senator's response to the video. Others meanwhile, defended the memorial ride.

"We rode last night for one of our best friends who was killed on highway 15, not an attempt to hurt anyone, but you being in office like you are shouldn't pull the 'race' card," Simmons wrote. "That flag is a symbol of southern heritage. Not hate or racism!"

"If a North Charleston cop can get fired for wearing a Confederate boxers underwear, she should be fired for what she said, there is no difference," said David Ard, of Walterboro.

In a phone conversation Wednesday afternoon Matthews said she removed the video from her personal Facebook page because it "detracted away from the young man's death."

"At the time it made sense in my perspective to post the video," Matthews added. "When I was made aware of what happened the next day I took it down."

Matthews said her husband knew several people taking part in the memorial ride and advised her of what happened.

"The procession lasted a long time," Matthews said. "I had two young grandsons at the house with me at the time, there were no banners or anything explaining what was going on."

"More than 150 cars took part," Simmons said. "They had 'RIP Bubba and Casey' written on them."

Wednesday around 2:00 p.m. Matthews posted a formal response on her public figure page:

"Perception is 'everything'. The same should be said for 'Point of Reference'. Here is the chronology of the events. The memorials for the Mother Emanuel shootings was this weekend. We attended those events on Saturday and of course, our hearts were heavy with grief and loss. Then, on Sunday evening without notice, a banner or any announcement, there were parades throughout several communities in Walterboro of trucks, motorcycles and boats waving Confederate flags. When we saw the procession my family had no idea that it was a memorial procession for young Marshall Catterton. I did not know that Mr. Catterton and his friend was killed the night before. So, on first sight, one would think that this procession was in response to the Church Shootings. I understand that was not the case and I totally respect the rights of the participants to exercise free speech. Given what I found out the next day, the procession appeared respectful to all. I pulled down the video because I would not want anything to detract away from the tragic loss to the Catterton family. I grew up in Mashawville and have known this young man's parents throughout the years. I cannot imagine the loss to Marshall's family and friends. Likewise, I understand why feelings were hurt and people wanted to express their views about the post."

"We want Margie to publicly go to the family and apologize for what she said," Simmons said.

Catterton lost another child from a car accident years ago, and recently lost her husband.

"If she would have looked before she leaped she wouldn't have help create pain on top of pain for my family," said Kim Blackburn, Marshall's aunt.

Blackburn went on to say the history of the flag needs to be taught.

"There are people that are proud of being southern and the flag to them represents hard working men and women, people that haven't forgotten their manners, chivalry still exist and they love their neighbors both white and black," Blackburn said. "Let's teach that point of view about the flag, shall we, and leave the hate where it belongs, in the past."

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