RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring will defend Gov. Ralph Northam’s order to remove the Robert E. Lee statue after a temporary injunction put a hold on the effort for 10 days, saying in a notice filed Wednesday that the governor “has both the authority and moral obligation to remove this badge of white supremacy from its place of exaltation.”

A Richmond judge blocked Northam’s call to immediately remove the monument after approving a temporary injunction, which went into effect Monday, for 10 days. The judge ruled that the monument’s deed from 1890 says Virginia agreed to “faithfully guard” and “affectionately protect” the monument, according to court documents.

In the notice, Herring states that “the statue is a daily reminder of one of the darkest periods in our Commonwealth’s and Nation’s history. The statue does not seek to explain or seek reconciliation for that time: it seeks to glorify it. It is a piece of state property freighted with exclusionary meaning to broad swaths of Virginians.”

Virginia’s attorney general noted that the plaintiff in the case failed to notify him or Northam of the injunction “despite filing suit in a circuit court less than two blocks away from the Office of the Attorney General.” Herring also said the court did not share any notice with him either.

A second lawsuit was filed Monday to halt the removal process and demand that the graffiti-covered statue be restored to its condition before protests took place across Richmond in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

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