RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — A Richmond judge extended the injunction blocking the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue indefinitely, saying in court Thursday that the monument “belongs to the people.”

The man who filed the lawsuit more than a week ago, William C. Gregory, has 21 days to file another complaint following Circuit Court Judge Bradley Cavedo’s decision to dismiss the original complaint after ruling that it was flawed, 8News’ Laura Perrot reports.

“It belongs to the people,” Cavedo said of the statue in court Thursday.

Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring expressed disappointment with Cavedo’s decision to extend the injunction when speaking at a press conference after the hearing.

“Essentially the judge agreed with us and dismissed the complaint. He has given him another opportunity to refile a new complaint in case they think they can make a better case and hearing is set in July after that’s done,” Herring said. “I’m disappointed the judge did continue the injunction until after that hearing, so we’ll go from there, but I want to be clear about this…this grandiose monument to a leader of a four-year armed insurrection against the United States of America in order to perpetuate a brutal and immoral system that enslaved millions needs to come down.”

A motion was also filed to add a new plaintiff, who wishes to remain anonymous, to the case. A hearing has been scheduled for July 23 at 2 p.m.

“How do you tell a black child why that monument is there? How do you tell a black man or a black woman they’re going to get a fair and impartial hearing when so many of our courthouses are literally blocked by these monuments to inhumane and immoral system that sought to enslave them? You can’t. There’s no justification for it,” Herring added.

The law firm representing Gregory, Blackburn, Conte, Schilling & Click, provided a statement Thursday that it had previously shared when the case became public.

For the past 48 years, our firm has dedicated itself to the practice of law in the Commonwealth of Virginia. As a firm, we take seriously our obligation to represent clients and handle cases even when those cases are controversial or unpopular. Our legal system works best when every client is zealously represented. Our lawyers have accepted court appointments in controversial cases where other lawyers would not. We have put in countless hours of pro bono representation, including offering pro bono representation to those arrested in the recent protests. We do not accept or refuse a case based on our personal beliefs. We believe that every client deserves proper legal representation, and we will present each case to the Court, allow the Court to make a reasoned decision, and respect the ruling of the Court.”

Blackburn, Conte, Schilling & Click

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