“Having rejected all of plaintiffs’ claims, the circuit court then proceeded to give plaintiffs what they had asked for all along — an injunction forbidding the Governor from removing the Lee statue,” Herring wrote in his motion asking for the injunction to be lifted.
Patrick McSweeney, the attorney for the group of five Monument Avenue-area residents who sought to keep the statue, said he didn’t think Herring’s motion had merit.
“It’s a rehash of what he argued before the circuit judge,” said McSweeney, who last month filed a notice that his clients planned to appeal.
The 60-foot monument is the oldest and largest of the five Confederate figures that gave Monument Avenue, the grandest boulevard in the state capital, its name.
The street became a focal point for racial justice protests that erupted in Richmond this summer, after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody.
The other monuments — of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, Gen. Stonewall Jackson, Gen. J.E.B. Stuart and Adm. Matthew Fontaine Maury — have been removed either by protesters or the city.
Only the Lee statue was owned by the state, and an 1889 deed required the commonwealth to protect the memorial forever. However, the General Assembly repealed that resolution in the budget bill it passed during its recent special session and provided money to take the memorial down.