A Confederate battle flag that is part of a Civil War memorial on the grounds of the South Carolina Statehouse flies over a Martin Luther King Jr. Day rally Jan. 21, 2008, in Columbia, S.C. 
Chris Hondros/Getty Images

A South Carolina lawmaker plans to introduce a bill to remove the Confederate flag from the grounds of the statehouse after officials were slammed this week for continuing to fly the divisive banner after nine black people were fatally shot at the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston on Wednesday, Raw Story reports.

Citing the slaying of Emanuel AME pastor and state Sen. Clementa Pinkney during the attack at the church, Republican state Rep. Norman Brannon announced late Friday that he plans to introduce a bill to remove the emblem from the statehouse grounds, the report says.

Advertisement

“I had a friend die Wednesday night for no reason other than he was a black man,” Brannon told MSNBC host Chris Hayes in a phone interview. “Senator Pinckney was an incredible human being. I don’t want to talk politics, but I’m gonna introduce the bill for that reason.”

Brannon said he was aware of the renewed calls for the flag to be taken down in the aftermath of the mass shooting, in which Pinckney and eight members of his congregation died. The suspect, 21-year-old Dylann Roof, who has been seen in pictures with a Confederate flag on his license plate, reportedly said he commited the killings out of racial hatred.

Advertisement

Brannon’s announcement comes amid vociferous and ardent calls on social media and by civil rights groups such as the NAACP for the flag to be removed from the Statehouse grounds.

“We say this not because we’re trying to sow division but rather because we’re trying to sow unity—a unity of purpose, a unity of commitment, a unity of resolve—so that we confront the racism in our midst,” said the group’s national president, Cornell William Brooks, according to Raw Story. “And that means, certainly symbolically, we cannot have the Confederate flag waving in the state Capitol.”

Advertisement

Read more at Raw Story.