Richmond City Council debates process for choosing Confederate statue recipients

Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond City Council members debated Monday over the process for who will be selected to acquire the city’s now-removed Confederate statues.

The central question revolved around whether the mayor’s office will conduct most of the work selecting who receives a statue or if city council should bear the brunt.

One facet of the process that was made clear: council will give final approval before statues are sent out of the city.

Five council members said Mayor Levar Stoney’s administration should handle the process before resolutions arrive to council for a vote.

However, council members including Kristen Nye Larson and Andreas Addison said council staff and the public should be involved in the selection process.

“We can definitely join together with the administration and we can work together, but I do not want a hand off the responsibility,” Larson said.

Nearly two dozen applicants have asked to acquire statues like Stonewall Jackson, Jeb Stuart and Matthew Maury. The applicants range from artists, private citizens and groups tied to Confederate veterans.

Stoney ordered these figures down for safety reasons in the wake of last summer’s protests and riots over racial injustices. Prior to the mayor’s decision, some of the statues had already been toppled.

The city has not reportedly signed away any of the statues yet, but Lincoln Saunders with the mayor’s office did signal where they don’t want the statues going.

He says they are “being sensitive to what we believe the council in the administration‘s goals related to not wanting to see these statues in the future for honoring, or [aggrandizing] the confederacy.”

The city will be considering a number of criteria for the statues’ new owners including intended use, if those interested can pay for statues and their transportation, as well as public access.

Richmond City Council is expected to come back during an informal meeting April 12 to decide how the disposition process will be handled.

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