RICHMOND, Va. -- Authorities have announced a number of street closings ahead of the removal of the state-owned statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee on Richmond's Monument Avenue following Thursday's ruling by the Supreme Court of Virginia.
Richmond Police said Saturday that stretches of three streets will be closed and there will be no parking along seven streets surrounding the statue from Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 6 p.m. through Saturday, Sept. 11 at 6 p.m.
Roads Closed with No Parking Zones:
- Monument Avenue between North Meadow and Lombardy streets
- North Allen Avenue between Park Avenue and West Broad Street
- West Grace Street between North Meadow and Lombardy streets
Roads with No Parking Zones:
- West Broad Street between North Meadow and Lombardy streets
- Park Avenue between North Meadow and Lombardy streets
- North Meadow Street between Park Avenue and West Broad Street
- Lombardy Street between Park Avenue and West Broad Street
However, officials noted that roads may be re-opened sooner "depending on circumstances."
The Virginia Department of General Services said they will move "swiftly" to remove the statue, but officials said Thursday that they will announce a removal date and details on how the public can view it at a later time.
"This is an extremely complex removal that requires coordination with multiple entities to ensure the safety of everyone involved," officials with the department said.
Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam, who ordered the statue's removal in 2020 10 days after George Floyd’s death, called the ruling a "tremendous win for the people of Virginia" and an important step forward for a more inclusive, just future.
The nationally recognized statue became the epicenter of a protest movement in Virginia after Floyd’s death and its base is now covered with graffiti.
IN-DEPTH COVERAGE: 112 Days: A CBS 6 documentary on the Richmond protests
Legal analyst: 'It's an unenforceable covenant'
The high court’s ruling came in two lawsuits filed by residents who attempted to block removal of the 21-foot bronze equestrian sculpture, which shows Lee in military attire atop a 40-foot pedestal.
Those who sued, a group of residents who own property near the statue and a descendant of signatories to a 1890 deed that transferred the statue, pedestal and land they sit on to the state, argued language written into deeds compelled the state to protect the monument. The court found that “restrictive covenants” in the 1887 and 1890 deeds that transferred the statue to the state no longer apply.
“Those restrictive covenants are unenforceable as contrary to public policy and for being unreasonable because their effect is to compel government speech, by forcing the Commonwealth to express, in perpetuity, a message with which it now disagrees,” the justices wrote.
Todd Stone, a legal analyst for WTVR CBS 6, explained the ruling.
"A land grant cannot dictate what sort of speech the government is going to have in perpetuity," Stone said. "So it's an unenforceable covenant, if it is a covenant."
Stone added the plaintiffs could appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court which would again delay the statue's removal. When asked about that possibility Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring said he hoped the plaintiffs saw the power of the decision and would not delay the process any further.
When asked about an appeal, an attorney for one of the two groups of plaintiffs said they had no comment.
Herring said he hoped the plaintiffs and their attorneys would see the power of the decision and not delay the statue's removal any longer.
"But I'll say this, if they try, we will be there to oppose it," added Herring. "This statue is coming down."
The city of Richmond, which was the capital of the Confederacy for most of the Civil War, has removed more than a dozen other pieces of Confederate statuary on city land since Floyd’s death, which prompted the removal of Confederate monuments in cities across the country.
COMPLETE COVERAGE: Richmond reacts to Lee monument ruling