VIRGINIA – A Charlottesville, Va., judge ordered the city Tuesday to uncover its two Confederate statues.
Richard E. Moore, judge for the Charlottesville Circuit Court denied the city’s request to keep its Robert E. Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson covered in black curtains until a year after the death of Heather Heyer, slain at the August “Unite the Right” rally, reported The Washington Post.
“I cannot find that council ever intended for [the shrouds] to be temporary and they have never, until recently, even discussed that possibility,” said Moore.
Moore gave Charlottesville 15 days from Tuesday to remove the tarps, according to CNN.
Charlottesville’s city council voted to take down its Lee statue and then, after the August rally, the Jackson statue, as well. Moore, however, interceded with an injunction preventing removal or alteration of the statues until the settlement of a lawsuitstarted by the Virginia chapter of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and the Monument Fund, Inc. The group alleges that a 1904Virginia law prohibiting the removal or alteration of public war monuments applies to the Jackson and Lee memorials.
The statute that prohibits the moving or damaging of such memorials and monuments places on the locality the duty to protect, preserve, and care for such,” said Moore.
If it occurs, the projected price of the two statues’ removal is $700,000.
The city notedthat it is “disappointed” by Moore’s decision but will respect it. The next hearing in the lawsuit to determine the future of the Confederate statues will occur in April, city spokesman Brian Wheeler said to The Daily Caller News Foundation.
“I am not aware of any polls conducted by council or the city staff on this topic,” Wheeler told TheDCNF, addressing public input on the decision to cover the Confederate statues.
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