Charlottesville Judge Rules Tarps Covering Confederate Statues Must be Removed

City workers drape a tarp over the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee in Emancipation park in Chrlottesville, Va., Wednesday, Aug. 23, 2017. The move intended to symbolize the city’s mourning for a woman killed while protesting a white nationalist rally earlier this month. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Tarps covering statues of Confederate generals Robert E. Lee and Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson in two Charlottesville, Virginia, parks must be removed, a judge ruled Tuesday in the latest twist in the battle over their future.

Circuit Judge Richard E. Moore said the black shrouds must be removed within 15 days of the order being filed, said Brian Wheeler, director of communications for Charlottesville. Wheeler said the city was disappointed with the ruling but he was not sure whether it will appeal.

Even if the statues are again visible, their fate is unclear: The city wants them permanently removed, while those against the idea have turned to courts.

The city last August covered the statues while it mourned the death of two troopers and Heather Heyer, who was killed when a car plowed into counterprotesters who had gathered to oppose a rally of white nationalist and other right-wing organizations.

But Moore ruled the city never defined the length of the “temporary” shrouding. “I cannot find that council ever intended for them to be temporary and they have never, until recently, even discussed that possibility,” he wrote in a letter to lawyers.

Wheeler said the city believed otherwise.

“The expectation of our city manager and council was that the shrouds could be up as long as a year in respect to the lives lost on August 12.”

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SOURCE: CNN, Phil Gast