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June 19, 2015

South Carolina State Rep. to introduce bill that would remove Confederate flag from capital

In the wake of the shooting in Charleston that took the lives of nine African Americans in a historically black church by a shooter with apparent white supremist sympathies, a State Representative from South Carolina announced plans Friday to introduce legislation that would remove the Confederate flag from the state capital.

In an interview with Chris Hayes on MSNBC, Norman "Doug" Brannon said the motive behind the planned bill wasn't politics, but instead the loss of a friend. Specifically, Brannon spoke of Democratic State Senator Clementa Pinckney, a pastor at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and one of the victims of the fatal shooting. 

"I had a friend die Wednesday night for no reason other than he was a black man," Brannon, a Republican who is white, told Hayes. 

The Confederate flag currently flies above the state capital, a point of controversy due to the apparent racial motives of suspected killer Dylann Roof.  It was not flown at half-staff following the shooting. 

"I'm not political tonight, but I do have access and I will file that bill in December," Brannon said. 

U.S. Senator from South Carolina Lindsey Graham, a Republican candidate for president in 2016, avoided explicitly linking the symbolism of the flag to the shooting in an interview with CNN

"The problems we have in South Carolina and throughout the world are not because of a movie or a symbol," Graham said. "It's because of what's in people's hearts."