RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) – A Richmond judge approved a temporary injunction Thursday blocking Mayor Levar Stoney from removing any additional Confederate monuments in the city.
The Hon. Judge Bradley Cavedo handed down the 60-day injunction in Richmond Circuit Court a day after the city’s commonwealth’s attorney, Colette McEachin, said she asked for Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring’s opinion on whether the mayor had the authority to expedite the process. During the next 60 days, the plaintiff can amend the complaint and Stoney can respond.
One Monument Avenue statue that has not been considered for removal is the monument to tennis legend Arthur Ashe – until now. After considerable debate, the statue was erected in the 1996 and today, Ashe’s family asked for it to be removed for fear of retribution.
8News confirmed that the Richmond Department of Public Works is complying with the family’s request and the Ashe statue will be removed. Plans for the statue after its removal are unknown.
Judge Cavedo said in court today that he believes Stoney violated the law by dismantling statues in Richmond.
At a media briefing on July 2, 8News asked Mayor Stoney if he is concerned about any potential legal repercussions for bypassing city council in taking down statues. He responded saying, “I think that we stand on sound legal ground. As the mayor, I’m the emergency management director. That’s in our emergency operations plan.”
Stoney’s defense argued that point in court today, referencing the mayor’s authority to remove statues as the emergency management director. Cavedo did not specifically mention Stoney’s decision to use emergency powers in his decision Thursday.
“The reason we’re removing these monuments is because of public safety first. Over the course of the last 34 days, we’ve seen a number of people gather right here in the city of Richmond. We’ve had over 139 calls for service, right there on the monument avenue corridor,” Stoney told 8News on July 2.
Based on a review of Confederate landmarks in the City of Richmond, one of the last remaining monuments is the A.P. Hill Monument in Richmond’s north side.
Judge Cavedo referred to A.P. Hill in court today as an “American war hero.”
This is a breaking news update – stay with 8News for more on this developing story
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