Charlottesville Wins Favorable Ruling from Virginia Supreme Court on Statues

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April 1, 2021

Charlottesville City Council remains committed to resolutions adopted in 2017 announcing its intent for the statues to be removed and looks forward to working with the City Manager to accomplish that goal

CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA – This morning, the Virginia Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Charlottesville, and delivered an opinion upholding the legality of City Council’s 2017 resolutions announcing its intention to remove statues of Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson from City parks. In the case of Payne v. Charlottesville, the Court unanimously found that the Charlottesville Circuit Court erred by prohibiting the disturbance of the statues and in ordering the City to pay the plaintiffs attorneys’ fees and costs totaling $365,680.60.

“This is an important case for the Charlottesville community and the rest of the Commonwealth,” said Charlottesville City Manager Chip Boyles. “The City was very fortunate to have Acting City Attorney Lisa Robertson representing the interests of our community. She has labored extensively over the past four years and I am thrilled she has won all of us this victory in the highest court in Virginia.”

Lisa Robertson presented the City’s legal arguments to the Virginia Supreme Court on November 6, 2020.

“The team in the City Attorney’s office did an amazing job; this court decision will positively impact so many lives,” said Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker. “I want to express gratitude to Zyahna Bryant, Dr. Wes Bellamy, and Kristin Szakos for igniting the sparks that started this local mini-revolution. We are forever indebted to the community for their steadfastness and perseverance over the past five years. For all of us, who were on the right side of history, Bravo!”

In 2017, Charlottesville City Council adopted multiple resolutions announcing its intent for the statues to be removed from the City’s downtown parks, and asking the City Manager’s office to present options for how removal could be accomplished. City Council remains committed to the intentions stated in those resolutions and looks forward to working with the City Manager to accomplish its goals.

“I and my administration will work diligently to plan the next steps, in coordination with City Council,” added Boyles. “We also look forward to engaging our community in the redesign of these park spaces in a way that promotes healing and that tells a more complete history of Charlottesville.”

Media Contact
Brian Wheeler
Director of Communications
City of Charlottesville
wheelerb@charlottesville.govVirginia Supreme Court Opinion

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