A judge in Richmond, Va., ruled on Monday that it was in the “public interest” to delay the removal of a Gen. Robert E. Lee statute in order to make sure that the statue is not “irreparably harmed” in the process, a report said.
“It is in the public interest to await resolution of this case on the merits prior to removal of the statue by defendants, and the public interest weighs in favor of maintaining the status quo,” the injunction reads, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The paper reported that Gov. Ralph Northam ordered its removal and placement in storage amid protests over George Floyd’s death two weeks ago in Minneapolis police custody. A spokeswoman from his office told the paper that he “remains committed to removing this divisive symbol from Virginia’s capital city, and we’re confident in his authority to do so.”
The Washington Post reported that the statue, which is located on Monument Avenue, was in place for 130 years.
Virginia’s Department of General Services said in a statement that it plans to remove the statue of the Confederate general as soon as possible. But officials said it must be done safely, given the memorial’s weight and height.
“The massive statue weighs approximately 12 tons, stands 21 feet tall, and has been on a 40-foot pedestal for 130 years,” the agency said in a statement. “Meticulous planning is required to remove an aging monument of this size and scale safely.”
The judge, who was not identified in reports, sits on the Richmond Circuit Court and granted a 10-day injunction. The Post reported that the deed says the state has to guarantee that it is protected.
The Associated Press contributed to this report