Lawyer for man in Lee statue lawsuit calls on Northam to protect monument amid ‘rumor’

Virginia News

Permanent injunction banning the removal of the statue also requested

Confederate Monuments Richmond

An inspection crew from the Virginia Department of General Services inspect the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue Monday June. 8, 2020, in Richmond, Va. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam has ordered the removal of the statue. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The attorney representing William C. Gregory, the man who filed a lawsuit that led a Richmond judge to grant a 10-day injunction blocking the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue, called on Virginia’s top elected officials Friday to protect the monument amid “a rumor” that an 18-wheeler is coming to Richmond to pull it down.

Gregory’s lawyer, Joseph E. Blackburn, also filed a motion for a permanent injunction to prevent the statue’s removal. According to court document, a hearing has been scheduled for June 18.

In a letter to Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, Blackburn writes that the state’s constitution requires Gov. Ralph Northam to enforce the execution of the laws and that the oaths they both took before taking office calls on them “to faithfully and impartially discharge all of the duties of the offices held by each of you.”

“I call upon you and the governor to protect that monument, not only pursuant to the Constitution and the laws of Virginia, but pursuant to the injunction entered by the court,” the letter states. “With the current state of affairs in the City of Richmond, it is incumbent upon the governor to call out the state police and such other force as is necessary to protect that monument until the court can rule on the merits of the pending case. Please have your client immediately take all efforts to protect the monument.”

Herring filed a motion Wednesday saying he would defend Northam’s order to remove the statue, arguing that the governor “has both the authority and moral obligation to remove this badge of white supremacy from its place of exaltation.”

In another motion filed Friday, Herring requested that any proceedings from now on regarding the lawsuit or removal of the Lee statue be conducted “on the record with a court reporter present.”

“Symbols matter, and the Virginia of today can no longer honor a racist system that enslaved millions of people. Installing a massive monument to the Lost Cause was wrong in 1890 and demanding that it stay up (much less until the end of time) is wrong now,” Herring wrote in Friday’s motion.

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