The city promoted the parade on its website as aimed at “celebrating and honoring all veterans, especially those of Alpharetta, who stood up for the rights and freedoms that everyone enjoys in the United States of America. America”.
Drinkard, the city’s deputy administrator, responded to the request by saying the parade was aimed at uniting the community and celebrating U.S. veterans and raised concerns about the participation of an organization dedicated solely to honoring the Confederate soldiers. The letter said that “the Confederate battle flag has become a symbol of division that a large portion of our citizens see as symbolizing oppression and slavery.” This division would be detrimental to the parade’s objectives and the city, supported by the mayor, had decided not to allow the display of the Confederate battle flag in the parade.
The letter said the Sons of Confederate Veterans could participate without the flag and should also agree to do nothing “that would undermine the purpose of the event to unite our community in celebrating American veterans.”
Three days before the parade, Leake and Dean sued city officials. They sought pecuniary damages for the violation of their rights and also sought a court order to allow them to participate in the parade with the Confederate battle flag that year and in the future.
The parade went as planned. The Sons of Confederate Veterans did not participate, and instead their supporters raised the Confederate battle flag along the parade route.