Henrico man files federal lawsuit to halt removal of Lee monument

FILE - This Tuesday, June 2, 2020 file photo shows a large group of protesters gather around...
FILE - This Tuesday, June 2, 2020 file photo shows a large group of protesters gather around the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Monument Avenue near downtown in Richmond, Va. Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is expected to announce plans Thursday for the removal of an iconic statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from Richmond's prominent Monument Avenue. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)(WHSV)
Published: Jun. 9, 2020 at 7:07 PM EDT
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A federal lawsuit has been filed by a Henrico man to halt Gov. Ralph Northam’s administration from removing the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee along Monument Avenue.

The lawsuit, filed on Monday, seeks an emergency injunction based on the statue being on the National Register of Historic Places.

The plaintiff on the lawsuit seeks to have a permanent injunction so that Northam and any future governors would be unable to remove it. The man also wants the monument to be cleaned and restored within 10 days.

This comes after a judge in Richmond issued an injunction, in connection to a separate civil lawsuit, preventing Northam’s administration from removing the monument for the next 10 days.

That temporary injunction order that was issued, also on Monday, says the state is a party to a deed recorded in March 1890 whereby it accepted the statue, pedestal and ground they sit on and agreed to “faithfully guard and affectionately protect” them.

The injunction was filed by a man, who is the great-grandson and heir of Roger and Bettie Gregory, signatories to the deed.

Northam last week ordered the statue of Lee taken down, citing the pain felt across the country over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis after a white police officer pressed a knee into his neck.

Northam released the following statement regarding the two lawsuits:

“Governor Northam remains committed to removing this divisive symbol from Virginia’s capital city, and we’re confident in his authority to do so.”