Charlottesville removes tarps from Lee and Jackson statues

Photo: Cville dog / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo: Cville dog / Wikipedia / CC BY-SA 3.0(KOSA)
Published: Feb. 28, 2018 at 1:25 PM EST
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The tarps have been removed from a pair of Confederate statues in downtown Charlottesville.

Workers from the Charlottesville Department of Parks and Recreation removed them Wednesday morning.

A judge

that the tarps needed to be taken down within 15 days of the court-issued order.

However, orange fencing around the statues is still in place.

The Charlottesville City Council voted to cover the statues in the days following the Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12, arguing the tarps would serve as shrouds intended as a sign of public mourning.

City officials did not specify when that mourning period would end, but a judge on Tuesday determined the tarps could no longer be considered temporary and were likely against the law.

The plaintiffs' attorney and the judge agreed the tarps were preventing the plaintiffs and other people visiting the downtown area from enjoying the statues.

In the months since the tarps were erected, they were

and replaced by Parks and Recreation crews, leading to mounting costs for the city and charges against a number of people.

Crossing the barrier of the orange fencing around the statues can lead to a trespassing charge.

All of this was part of a hearing on a case that was filed to prevent the city from removing the Confederate statues, which the judge said can move forward.

As part of that case, the judge also concluded that the Robert E. Lee statue meets Virginia's definition of a "war memorial," which, according to a 1950s law amended in 1998, would prevent a locality from removing it.

The city

in February of last year, and Attorney Charles Weber sued the city to prevent the removal.

, a judge ruled the Stonewall Jackson Statue meets criteria of being a war memorial but chose to let the tarps stay.

Attorneys for the city declined to comment on Tuesday.

"We're very grateful the state legislature has seen fit to basically uphold the current law on good, sound public policy for Virginia," said Weber.

A trial on the case, which will determine whether Charlottesville has the authority to remove these two statues. will likely take place later this year or early next year.