The removal of the Robert E. Lee statue in Richmond, Virginia has been postponed due to a court order issued by a judge. The order has halted removal of the statue for 10 days.
What We Know:
- Gov. Ralph Northam ordered for the statue to be removed last week during a press conference but a judge proposed an order for the statue to remain up for 10 days. Northam says, “We can no longer honor a system that was based on the buying and selling of enslaved people.” The order issued on Monday states that Virginia accepted the statue in March 1890 and to “faithfully guard” and “affectionately” protect them. It also says that it is in public interest to wait until the case is finalized to remove the statue.
- William C. Gregory is one of the signatories on the original deed for the statue and has filed lawsuit towards the statue being removed. The lawsuit says, “(Gregory’s) family has taken pride for 130 years in this statue resting upon land belonging to his family and transferred to the Commonwealth in consideration of the Commonwealth contractually guaranteeing to perpetually care for and protect the Lee Monument.” Northam and the Department of General Services are named as defendants. The Department of General Services will facilitate the removal of the statue.
- Northam’s administration is still reviewing the order, but he is determined to remove the statue as soon as possible in support of the many protests that have emerged due to the death of George Floyd and police brutality. As of Monday, crews went out to inspect the statue for removal and Northam’s administration will “seek public input” about its future.
- City Council members have pledged to have the other four remaining Confederate figures removed this week as well. Monument Avenue, where the statue is located, was temporarily closed during the weekend to prepare for its removal. Authorities went form house-to-house to explain what was happening.
Gov. Northam has been in support of removing the statue since 2017 after the white-supremacist rally in Charlotte but never went through with the removal. It has not been confirmed when the statue removal will take place.