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Virginia spends thousands to replace Confederate license plates

Published: Sep. 10, 2015 at 5:14 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 20, 2015 at 5:14 PM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The state of Virginia is spending close to $8,000 to have license tags that feature the Confederate Flag replaced. Newly designed tags are in the mail now to some 1,600 drivers who must remove the old license plates in order to comply with Virginia law.

When suspected shooter Dylann Roof was spotted posing with a Confederate Flag following the deaths of nine Black church members in South Carolina,
it ignited rage across the nation and even in Virginia, leading Governor Terry McAuliffe to call for the removal of the flag from state-issued license plates.

The previous license plate was recalled after a federal judge ruled that Virginia could remove the Confederate Battle Flag from license plates, dissolving a 2001 injunction that allowed it to appear on specialty plates.

"I say they've hijacked the flag for their own nefarious purposes, and that shouldn't be," said Dexter Oliver, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans.

He takes issue with the new tag Virginia created for Confederate supporters.

"I don't approve of them taking our emblem off which has the battle flag," he added.

Still, 1,600 of them are headed to the mailboxes of Virginians who purchased the old plate. Motorists are being asked to replace them right away.

"We've enclosed a postage paid envelope. We just ask them to mail the old plates back to us so we can recycle them," said Brandy Brubaker with the DMV.

She says police will be on the lookout for violators and in just a matter of weeks; those with the old tags can be cited with a misdemeanor.

"We just want to ensure everyone has a current, valid license plate on their vehicle," Brubaker added.

But you won't see Oliver with one on his car, even though he deems the flag a symbol of his heritage.

"Let the Governor know there's a price to be paid for offending us like that," he said.

The DMV is asking everyone have the new tag mounted by October 3rd because come October 4th, violators will be cited.

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