RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - A Richmond Circuit Court Judge indefinitely extended an injunction preventing the removal of Robert E. Lee statue from Monument Avenue.
Judge Bradley Cavedo made the decision Thursday after hearing from attorneys for the state and for the plaintiff in a lawsuit Governor Ralph Northam.
“Ultimately that statue will come down,” said Attorney General Mark Herring, (D) Virginia. “This plaintiff did not have the ability to veto the governor’s direction. The governor is the person who’s in a position to make those decisions.”
William Gregory, a great-grandson of the original deed holders, is mounting the civil challenge. His attorney argued the entire case is over a contract between Gregory’s ancestors and the state to keep the land and monument in perpetuity. The 12-ton 21-foot-tall statue has stood in a prominent spot along Monument Avenue since 1890.
“It is wrong to continue to have it stand as a symbol of our commonwealth today let alone to ask that it remain in perpetuity until the end of time,” said Herring.
The state argued the case is about property not contracts, and the governor ultimately has the power over state property, and can remove the statue.
“My focus is on making sure that this symbol of Virginia’s racist past does not continue to be allowed to represent us as a commonwealth,” said Herring.
The Republican judge told both sides in the courtroom he is of the belief that the Lee monument belongs to the people. The governor is just a custodian of it.
Both sides will be back in court on July 23, 2020 at 2 PM. That’s when we will likely have a final decision about the fate of the state-owned statue.
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