The Monument Fund

Preserving and Defending our Historic Monuments and Memorials

Motion to Remove Covers Filed

In August 2017, the city wrapped the Lee and Jackson monuments in black plastic tarps, duct taped in place.

After citizens repeatedly pulled off the covers, in September 2017 the City surrounded the  monuments with orange plastic fencing and no trespassing signs. 

Charlottesville Circuit Court Judge Moore on October 4, 2017 took the city at its word that the covers were temporary, and allowed them to remain in place for a limited time.  

But on November 6, 2017 City Council passed a resolution calling for permanently screening the monuments from public view. 

The Monument Fund and the other plaintiffs promptly filed a motion asking the Court to order the City to remove the covers, and cease impeding access to the monuments. 

The motion points out that the City never got BAR approval for the covers.  And winter winds, tarps frozen to the monuments, and the weight of snow increase the potential for damage.   

The motion asks for a substantial fine for every day the covers remain in place. It cites a similar case in Alabama, where the State Attorney General asked a court to fine the City of Birmingham $25,000 per day, for each day its Confederate monuments remain obscured.

The  hearing on the motion to remove the tarps is currently scheduled for February 5. 

Injunction enlarged and duration extended

Judge Moore this afternoon (October 24) entered an agreed order to extend the duration of the injunction prohibiting the removal of both Lee and Jackson, until the end of the case.  Otherwise it would have expired November 2.  

The order does not affect the burqas on the monuments.  That issue remains to be dealt with.

Judge decides Lee and Jackson are protected

At a hearing on October 4, 2017 Charlottesville’s Judge Moore essentially told the city both monuments are staying where they are, and their tarps need to be temporary.

Judge Moore provided the parties a sixteen page letter ruling rejecting most of the Defendants' Demurrer, deciding that Virginia’s Monument Protection law (Va Code §15.2-1812) does prohibit removing both monuments. The judge differed with interpretations by a Danville judge, echoed by Virginia’s Attorney General, that the law only protects monuments in cities erected after 1997.

He also found all the Plaintiffs had standing to bring suit under the Monument Protection law, and that some (city citizen taxpayers) had standing to complain that city is acting illegally and without authority, called ultra vires.

He decided the City can rename Lee Park as Emancipation Park. Whether they can rename Jackson Park remains for trial (the name was specified as part of McIntire’s gift to the city).

What’s next: we will amend our Complaint to correct a drafting deficiency (omitting to call General Robert E. Lee “a Confederate veteran.”)  If the judge deems the amendment acceptable, he will hold another hearing later this month to consider whether to extend the expanded injunction.

Meanwhile Defendants said they are preparing an interlocutory appeal. Presumably they mean to challenge the ruling on the Monument Protection law, before the Virginia Supreme Court.   Accordingly we are retaining appellate Counsel.

The Monument Fund, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) and contributions are tax deductible