UPDATE: Governor To Remove Lee Monument

AP News
June 03, 2020 - 4:58 pm

(Matt Demlein, WRVA)​

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Richmond, VA _   Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to announce plans Thursday for the removal of an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond’s prominent Monument Avenue. A senior administration official told The Associated Press that the governor will direct the statue to be moved off its massive pedestal and put into storage while his administration seeks input on a new location.

Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney announced Wednesday that on July 1, his administration will introduce an ordinance, along with Councilman Mike Jones, to remove all Confederate monuments on Monument Avenue. 

Throughout the protest, the monuments of Confederate leaders on Monument Avenue have been spray painted and defaced, and served as rallying spaces for protestors. The city is granted the power to take down Confederate monuments on city land July 1, per recent action by the General Assembly. The city, however, has no jurisdiction over the Robert E. Lee Monument, which sits on state-owned property.
 
“I appreciate the recommendations of the Monument Avenue Commission – those were the appropriate recommendations at the time.But times have changed, and removing these statues will allow the healing process to begin for so many Black Richmonders and Virginians,” said Mayor Stoney. “Richmond is no longer the Capital of the Confederacy – it is filled with diversity and love for all – and we need to demonstrate that.”

Stoney also renewed a commitment made to protesters at the Lee Monument Tuesday evening, to enacting a crisis alert, also known as the Marcus Alert, exploring the creation of a Citizen Review Board (CRB), and reiterated RPD’s commitment to existing policy banning the use of chokeholds.

The Marcus Alert is named after Essex County Public Schools teacher and Virginia Commonwealth University graduate Marcus David Peters, who was killed in 2018 by a Richmond Police officer while experiencing a mental health crisis. The alert would enable the RPD and Richmond Behavioral Health Authority (RBHA) to work collaboratively on calls for service related to persons experiencing a mental or behavioral health crisis, with a focus on de-escalation by law enforcement and crisis intervention by mental health experts.