Richmond city attorney says city must have GA approval to remove Confederate monuments

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Richmond’s city attorney recently sent a memo to City Council clarifying that the Confederate statues on Monument Avenue may only be removed with the consent of the Virginia General Assembly.

Councilwoman Kim Gray confirms that she received the internal memo from City Attorney Allen Jackson, and as a result, there is a new barrier in the way of removing such monuments.

Virginia’s Dillon Rule, which the Virginia Supreme Court adopted in the late 1800s, says that local governments only are able to pass ordinances in areas where the General Assembly has granted authority.

According to Virginia state law, localities cannot remove war memorials.

But according to legal analyst Russ Stone there’s some gray area in the interpretation of the law, passed in 1962.

“I think it’s important to point out that the General Assembly attempted to amend that statute,” Stone said in a previous interview with 8News.

Lawmakers attempted to amend the law last year to make it apply to statues regardless of when they were erected. However, the law was vetoed by Gov. McAuliffe, which may imply that the law only applies to statues erected after 1962.

“What we’re talking about here is something that a judge would have to ultimately decide,” Stone said at the time.

As a result, the fate of the Confederate statues on Memorial Avenue is still up in the air.

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