A Virginia judge has issued an 10-day injunction on Democrat Gov. Ralph Northam’s order to remove an iconic 130-year-old statue of Robert E. Lee from Richmond’s Monument Avenue, saying the order violates a deed agreement dating back to 1890.
Richmond Circuit Court judge Bradley B. Cavedo on Monday ruled Northam’s directive violates the deed filed in Henrico County more than a century ago that states the commonwealth “guaranteed” to put the statue in its current place and “faithfully guard it and affectionately protect it." The monument, made up of a 12-ton bronze statue of Lee standing on a massive 40-foot pedestal, is one of the most iconic historical landmarks in the city.
Cavedo’s injunction temporarily halts any prep work to remove the statue.
The governor’s office, on the other hand, says they’ll press forward with removing the monument, which Northam alleges is a symbol of racism and inequality.
“Governor Northam remains committed to removing this divisive symbol from Virginia’s capital city, and we’re confident in his authority to do so,” press secretary Alena Yarmosky said in an email late Monday night.
The Lee statue is one of five Confederate monuments along Monument Avenue. The other four commemorate J.E.B. Stuart, Jefferson Davis, Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson, and Confederate Navy officer Matthew Fontaine Maury. Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced on Wednesday that he will introduce an ordinance on July 1 to also remove these four statues in addition to the iconic Lee monument.