Judge rules Confederate statues removal by Memphis is legal

A judge has ruled the removal of three Confederate statues from public parks in Memphis, Tennessee, is legal.

Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle in Nashville ruled Wednesday that the relocation of statues of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, Confederate President Jefferson Davis and Capt. J. Harvey Mathes from two city parks Dec. 20 didn't violate state law.

The Tennessee Heritage Protection Act limits the removal or changing of historical memorials on public property. City leaders used a legal loophole by selling the parks for $1,000 to a nonprofit, which swiftly removed the monuments.

The judge ruled the statues weren't covered by the act because they were on private property when removed.

The Sons of Confederate Veterans has called the removal of the statues unauthorized. It didn't immediately respond to email seeking comment.