Monument Avenue residents file notice of appeal in Robert E. Lee statue lawsuit as Richmond judge restores injunction

Virginia News

Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant issued an amended order Thursday that restores the temporary injunction blocking the monument's removal until after the appeal process.

FILE – This June 27, 2017, file photo, shows the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee that stands in the middle of a traffic circle on Monument Avenue in Richmond, Va. A lawsuit seeking to prevent Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration from removing an enormous statue of Gen. Lee can proceed, a judge ruled Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, clearing the way for a trial in the fall. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A group of Monument Avenue residents have filed notice of their plans to appeal a Richmond judge’s ruling that dissolved the injunction preventing the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue for months.

Despite the judge’s decision earlier in the week, the Lee statue will not be taken off its pedestal anytime soon after a series of court filings Thursday.

Richmond Circuit Court Judge W. Reilly Marchant originally suspended his order until after the resolution of an appeal, leading Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring to file a motion for reconsideration Thursday arguing that the court did not have the authority to stop the state from removing the Confederate monument without another injunction request from the plaintiffs.

In response, Marchant issued an amended order that restores the temporary injunction from August during the appeal process.

Patrick McSweeney, the attorney for the plaintiffs, shared a copy of the notice of appeal with 8News on Thursday. The Supreme Court of Virginia will now decide whether or not to hear the appeal.

“Attorney General Herring will continue this fight until this divisive memorial to Virginia’s racist past is finally brought down and he will continue to push for a final resolution as quickly as possible,” Charlotte Gomer, a spokeswoman for Herring, said in a release.

Lawsuits aimed at preventing the state from removing the Lee statue have been filed, dropped, amended and refiled since the governor announced that he had instructed the Virginia Department of General Services to take it down as soon as possible in early June.

 The plan to remove the statue from Monument Avenue, which calls for the sculpture to be “partially disassembled” into three sections, has already been unanimously approved by a state review board.

The process would require two phases, one to take down the 13-ton sculpture and another to remove the monument’s pedestal, the conservator selected by the state, B.R. Howard Conservation, said in the plan. The firm writes that based on an on-site inspection, the sculpture can be taken from its base “as a single unit,” but would need to be disassembled to “meet the highway height restrictions” during transport.

“It is believed, based upon recent on-site observation of the monument and the review of written accounts which describe the assembly of the sculpture in 1890, that the bronze sculpture will be separated into three sections, cast base and legs of the horse, the body and head of the horse, and the figure, from the waist up,” the plan states.

Dena Potter, spokeswoman for the state Department of General Services, told 8News that the exact number of cuts required is still not clear and won’t be until the statue is removed from its pedestal.

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