News to Know for July 2: Stonewall Jackson statue removed; New law combats racial profiling; Man shot while driving; Storms take a break

News to Know for July 2: Stonewall Jackson statue removed; New law combats racial profiling; Man shot while driving; Storms take a break
Left: Unveiling of Stonewall Jackson monument, 1919, Cook Collection 4601, The Valentine. Right: Stonewall Jackson Monument pedestal, 2020 (Source: The Valentine)

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - History was made in Richmond as the first Confederate statue was officially taken down along Monument Avenue. Here’s a look at that and more in our top headlines this Thursday.

Storms Take a Break

After some patchy fog in the early morning, Thursday looks to be a pleasant summer day.

We’ll get a break from storms and showers before the Fourth of July when we have a 20% chance of rain.

A pleasant summer day Thursday, hotter Friday

A Historic Day

After 101 years, crews removed the Stonewall Jackson statue along Richmond’s Monument Avenue Wednesday.

Left: Unveiling of Stonewall Jackson monument, 1919, Cook Collection 4601, The Valentine. Right: Stonewall Jackson Monument pedestal, 2020 #RichmondStories

Posted by The Valentine on Wednesday, July 1, 2020

City Council started the formal process of removing the statues yesterday, which would have had them removed in September, but Stoney cited COVID-19 as well as a potential injury for stepping in early.

Because the city is under a state of emergency, he has the power to make the decision.

There are three Confederate statues remaining on Monument Avenue. The Robert E. Lee statue is controlled by the state, the other two will be removed in the coming days.

As for how much this is costing? We’re told as much as $1.8 million.

Not Everyone is Pleased

While many people at the monument celebrated the removal, that wasn’t the case for all. The Sons of Confederate Veterans says it’s disappointing to see Stonewall Jackson being taken down.

“We’re done trying to educate the public. These monuments must be on private property where they will be maintained, in perpetuity, respected, protected, revered as they deserve because it’s obvious the public sector does not want them.”

The group says it would be glad to take the monuments away from the city.

Eviction Protests Turn Violent

Today, we’re asking city officials if any arrests were made after an anti-eviction protest turned violent outside the John Marshall Courthouse.

The protests started peacefully with organizations and community members marching to the executive mansion at the State Capitol, demanding Governor Northam extend the eviction freeze during the pandemic that was lifted over the weekend.

The courthouse shut down early after demonstrators tried to force their way inside for a sit-in. Deputies then fired pepper spray into the crowd; protesters responded with a brick through the window.

Shooting Suspect Search

In Henrico, a man is fighting for his life after being shot in a neighborhood near Richmond Raceway yesterday evening.

Police have not released any suspect information but they are asking anyone who knows anything to call Crime Stoppers at 804-780-1000.

Man Shot While Driving

Police say the man was traveling west on Midlothian near Powhite when a white BMW sedan with dark tinted windows and a Maryland license plate drove up next to him. Someone fired gunshots then drove off.

Anyone with information should call Crime Solvers at 804-748-0660.

New Law Combats Racial Profiling

New laws went into effect across the commonwealth Wednesday; one will help shed light on whether certain groups are targeted by police.

Through House Bill 1250, also known as the Community Policing Act, law enforcement across the state are required to record information about a driver’s race, ethnicity, age, and gender during a traffic stop.

The purpose is to stop law enforcement from engaging in bias-based profiling while performing their jobs. Read more about it here.

‘Just Because You Can Do Certain Things, Doesn’t Mean You Should'

Dr. Taison Bell of UVA says that if trends continue, he hopes Governor Northam will put some regulations back in place to keep people safe.

Dr. Bell said he and many of his colleagues believe the start of Phase 3 in the commonwealth is premature, as states across the country are seeing a spike in positive COVID-19 cases after rolling back restrictions.

Updated coronavirus numbers from the Virginia Department of Health.
Updated coronavirus numbers from the Virginia Department of Health. (Source: NBC12)

Cases across Virginia since the pandemic started now top 63,000, and 23 more people have died since Tuesday.

Our percent positivity is up slightly again to 6.1%. Here’s a reminder of phase three guidelines.

Nursing Home Update Coming

The Virginia Department of Health is holding a press briefing today to provide an update on their response to COVID-19 in long-term care facilities. That is set to begin at 11 this morning - you can watch it live on our digital platforms.

DC Fireworks Show Despite COVID-19

President Donald Trump’s July Fourth celebration on the National Mall will feature one of the largest fireworks displays ever and as many as 300,000 face masks will be given away to those who want them — but despite health concerns from D.C.‘s mayor, no one apparently will be required to wear them.

Washington is currently in phase 2 of its reopening plans, and the mayor has asked district residents to avoid large crowds and celebrate July Fourth at or near their homes.

Robins Nature Center Reopens Today

Today, the Robins Nature Center at Maymont is reopening to the public. It’s been closed since November to complete $2.3 million in renovations.

It was supposed to reopen in April but was postponed due to the pandemic.

The Robins Nature Center will be opening to the public on July 2 and making a big SPLASH! Enjoy active play, meet new...

Posted by Maymont on Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Tickets must be purchased online and are available in 45-minute time slots with limited capacity for entry. To read through safety precautions, click here.

Final Thought

“I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past.” - Thomas Jefferson

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