NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and Norfolk Commonwealth’s Attorney Gregory Underwood say they won’t prevent Norfolk from moving its Confederate monument from downtown to a local cemetery, seemingly giving the city the go ahead.
Documents filed Tuesday in Norfolk federal court say that Herring and Underwood believe a Virginia state law that prevents the removal of war memorials doesn’t apply to Norfolk’s monument, and that “all parties agree that the city may remove the monument.”
This comes after Norfolk sued Herring and Underwood, along with the state, back in August, saying the city’s First Amendment rights are being violated.
State law preventing the removal of war memorials was first enacted in 1904 and originally only applied to counties, before being changed in 1997 to include any “locality.”
Norfolk’s monument was erected in 1907, and the 1997 change doesn’t apply retroactively, Herring says.
Norfolk City Council voted in 2017 after the “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville to move the monument to Elmwood Cemetery when it was allowed to legally do so.