RICHMOND, Va. — Crews have arrived to remove a statue of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart from Richmond's Monument Avenue — an area of the city that contains several Confederate statues that Mayor Levar Stoney has promised to remove.
The J.E.B. Stuart monument is one of about a dozen statues Stoney has ordered be removed from city property.
Statues of Confederate General Stonewall Jackson and Confederate Naval Commander Matthew Fontaine Maury were removed from Monument Avenue last week and taken to an undisclosed location. A statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis was toppled by protesters last month.
A statue to Confederate General Robert E. Lee is located on state-owned property and could be removed once legal challenges to its removal make their way through court.
The Stuart statue, erected in 1907, is the first monument Stoney promised would be removed following the holiday weekend.
The mayor said it would cost $1.8 million to remove the statues. He said the money would come from the Department of Public Works and be reimbursed by a private fund.
While city attorney Haskell Brown told Richmond City Council that Stoney did not have the power to remove statues, Stoney said he believed he is on sound legal ground to remove the statues using his emergency powers as the Emergency Management Director.
"That's in our Emergency Operations Plan. That is also the part of the governor's declaration of emergency that I'm the emergency manager," Stoney said. "And also, the City Council spoke to this in June 8, when they passed a resolution ordinance that gave me such powers."
Stoney said over the course of the last several weeks, thousands have gathered in the city, and there have been more than 139 calls of service along the Monument Avenue corridor.
The mayor said failing to remove the statues presented a severe, immediate and growing threat to public safety.
Stoney said the removed statues would be placed in temporary storage while Richmond enters a 60-day administrative process during which the city will solicit public input while determining the fate of the statues.
This story was originally published by Gabrielle Harmon and Scott Wise on WTVR in Richmond, Virginia.