Melissa Bailey photo

When Doug Bethea steps out of the house to remember his slain son, he doesn’t go to the cemetery on a Sunday afternoon. He heads out at midnight to the sidewalk where his son was shot and sits down before an array of candles. “You don’t know how it feels,” he told a group of aldermen considering restricting the memorials, “to have someone come and tell you you have to take that up and move.”

Bethea’s words came amid an emotional debate over the proper role of street memorials, the collections of stuffed animals, candles, photos and bottles that pop up on city sidewalks in homage to those who have died on the street.

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