Charlottesville Judge Halts Lee Statue Removal - Confirms Protection Under State Law
HUGE VICTORY in the Commonwealth today as Charlottesville City Council is dealt a crushing blow in their attempts to tear down the Robert E. Lee monument in LEE Park. Congratulations to all of those involved in the legal proceedings today!
"In a marathon hearing lasting nearly 6 hours, Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Moore granted the request for a temporary injunction, prohibiting the City from removing the Robert E. Lee Monument for a period of up to 6 months - to allow the case to be tried. Judge Moore stated that he believes the Lee Monument falls under the protection of Virginia Statute §15.2-1812: "Memorials for War Veterans" because it is "clearly a war memorial." He further stated that the argument made by the City of Charlottesville that Virginia Statute §15.2-1812 doesn't protect monuments erected prior to 1997 "strains credulity." Followers of this page will remember that a Danville, Virginia Judge first asserted that the statute didn't apply retroactively to monuments erected prior to 1997 in a case decided in 2015.
The City can proceed with its decision to rename both the Lee and Jackson Parks, but for the time being, cannot do anything to disturb, remove, damage or deface this Registered Historic Landmark.
The City is still proceeding with its attempt to dismiss the lawsuit (that was not argued today) and we will find out June 19 when the court date will be set to hear their arguments for dismissal.
We will keep you updated if there are further developments, but for now, Lee and Traveller will remain in Lee Park (and yes, it will always be Lee Park to some of us, no matter what the City decides to rename it) - their home for nearly a century."
This early decision, confirming what we have known all along, should go a long way to quiet any rumblings of tearing down ANY monuments in the Commonwealth. The law is clear and the judge confirmed it.
Even so, this case is far from over and we are in no way standing down nor will we become complacent about monument protection in Charlottesville or across the Commonwealth. As we file this report, our monument guards are on high alert in Richmond and patrols have been stepped up tonight in light of the un-American unrest, violence and vandalism across the country this week.
We have not yet begun to fight.
As we have said all along, the Lee statue is not going anywhere, and when the final decision is reached and the monument is safe, there will be hell to pay for the attempted removal.