RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond City Council was unable to vote Wednesday on whether or not to remove Confederate monuments from city-owned property. July 1 was the first day a new state law went into effect that allowed local governments to control the fate of local monuments.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney introduced a resolution calling for the immediate removal of Confederate statues in Richmond.
But Richmond City Attorney Haskell Brown said based on the city charter, City Council could not legally vote on the mayor's resolution since it was not publicly noticed for the special meeting. Brown said Stoney's resolution was received 23 minutes before the start of Wednesday's virtual meeting and he had not had time to review its legality.
Stoney argued that since Richmond was under a state of emergency and he is in control of emergency management, he had the right to remove the statues citing concerns over public safety.
A special meeting was set for Thursday at 1 p.m. to vote on the matter. Over the 24 hours, council hopes to hear from the mayor's legal counsel and receive more advice from the city attorney.
A majority of the council has expressed support for the removal of the monuments.
Stoney said it would cost $1.8 million to remove the statues. He said the money would come from the Department of Public Works. He said the money spent would be reimbursed by a private fund.
Richmond City Councilwoman Kim Gray, who is a candidate for mayor, urged Richmond City Council to not skirt their own charter.
She said City Council took an oath to uphold the constitution and charter of the city, but said if the attorney can find a legal means to expedite the process she would support it.
Richmond City Councilman Mike Jones reminded council he pushed to remove the statues three years ago.
This is a developing story.