Richmond, Va., Can Remove Confederate Statue

Richmond Can Remove Last Confederate Statue, Judge Rules

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Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

A federal judge has ruled that the city of Richmond, Va., can remove a Confederate statue from its downtown. The decision is the latest in a years-long battle over the statue, which is located at Monument Avenue and the city’s waterfront.

On Monday afternoon, U.S. Magistrate Judge Raymond A. Jackson ruled that removing the statue does not violate the First Amendment’s protections of free speech and assembly.

Jackson, in a 12-page ruling, said that the statue is not a government speech and is only on Monument Avenue in connection with the city of Richmond’s ongoing redevelopment of the waterfront.

The ruling doesn’t overturn the city’s decision to remove the statue: It merely leaves open the possibility that the court could rule later that the statues is not a government speech and therefore has not to go immediately.

In his Monday ruling, Jackson said that the statue is “mockery of the great civil liberties of the country and defies the values of the First Amendment.”

The city removed the statue in September after the U.S. Department of Justice announced in August that it was investigating the city’s decision to allow the removal of the statue without any public input. The judge made his decision in an hourlong hearing.

The city said that it chose to remove the statue after hearing from residents and citizens’ associations about its “harmful heritage and history.” The city said it would also ask a judge to reconsider the decision to remove the statue and to allow it to stay on Monument Avenue in connection with the waterfront redevelopment project.

The city added that it would seek to keep the statues at its waterfront.

While the city removed the statue, some called on the mayor and council members to remove it from their own yards and houses.

“Our homes represent our heritage, our history. Our kids’ homes represent our future,” said Tom Stranard, whose home at 1002 Monument Road overlooks the statue. “This is a symbol of hate that’s

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