Richmond mayor to to introduce ordinance to remove Confederate monuments
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney says he, along with Councilman Mike Jones, will introduce an ordinance to remove all Confederate monuments on city land along Monument Avenue on July 1.
That's the day the new
officially goes into effect, giving Richmond the power to decide the fate of monuments on city land, just like Charlottesville will be given authority over the monuments on their land.
“I appreciate the recommendations of the Monument Avenue Commission – those were the appropriate recommendations at the time," Mayor Stoney said, referring to
, including adding context to existing statues, building a new monument to honor African American troops who fought for the Union during the Civil War, and removing the tribute to Confederate President Jefferson Davis.
"But times have changed, and removing these statues will allow the healing process to begin for so many Black Richmonders and Virginians,” said Mayor Stoney. “Richmond is no longer the Capital of the Confederacy – it is filled with diversity and love for all – and we need to demonstrate that.”
During the protests over George Floyd's death, the monuments –
– have been spray-painted and served as a rallying point for protesters.
Also on Wednesday, an official in Governor Ralph Northam's administration told reporters that the governor
, which, unlike the other monuments on Monument Avenue, is owned by the commonwealth of Virginia rather than the city.
After Stoney and Police Chief Will Smith met with protesters on Tuesday
, Stoney committed to taking steps to improve RPD.
“Protesters should always be able to exercise their First Amendment rights peacefully and without threat of violence,” said Mayor Stoney. “That’s your right, and we violated that yesterday,” he said.
Stoney has met with Commonwealth Attorney Colette McEachin, who is conducting an independent investigation into the incident at the monument. Officials said disciplinary action will be taken against officers who violated RPD policy.
“I understand my role, as with any good leader, was largely to listen,” said Stoney. “Apologize from the bottom of my heart, and then just listen to the many young Black men and women who bared their souls to me.”
Tuesday evening, Stoney marched with protesters from the Capitol to the Lee monument.
Stoney spoke to the crowd before the march, making a commitment to enact a crisis alert, also known as the Marcus Alert, exploring the creation of a Citizen Review Board (CRB) and RPD’s commitment to an existing policy banning the use of chokehold.
the release said in part.
Earlier this year, Richmond Police also began working on steps to ensure racial equality in its policies and practices.
“Yesterday, I marched with Richmond, for Richmond,” said Mayor Stoney. “George Floyd’s death may have happened in Minnesota, but the shock waves are bringing very valid pain to the surface in our city. Last night, Richmond told me to channel our city’s pain into reform.”