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Charlottesville Mayor to Make Announcement Regarding Lee Statue

Posted: Updated: Aug 17, 2017 07:54 PM
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

UPDATE: Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer announced on Twitter Friday morning that he will not be holding a news conference at noon. He plans to release a statement sometime in the day.

Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer is set to deliver, “a major announcement” involving the city’s statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee on Friday.

Two sources confirm the announcement Friday is that he wants to change his statue vote to "remove". He voted against removal initially. Signer also wants to hold a community meeting over how to honor Heather Heyer's legacy.

Signer will also discuss Department of Justice outreach programming already in the works. When asked for comment as he headed into an unrelated event, Signer had no comment.

Supporters and protesters clashed around the park and downtown area during the Unite the Right rally Saturday, August 12.

The rally's organizer, white activist Jason Kessler, had stated that the event was in support of keeping the Lee statue in Emancipation Park.

However, skirmishes broke out before the rally between people associated with white supremacists, neo-Nazi groups, "ANTIFA", Black Lives Matter, and other organizations.

An unlawful assembly was declared at around 11:30 a.m. which prompted police in riot gear to respond. Governor Terry McAuliffe also declared a state of emergency.

Heyer died, and 19 people were injured, after a car slammed into a group of protesters in the area of 4th Street and Water Street. Police have charged 20-year-old James Alex Fields, Jr. with second-degree murder, three counts of malicious wounding, and one count of hit-and-run.

Fields was seen earlier the day of the car attack participating in the rally at Emancipation Park with Vanguard America, a known racist, right-wing group.

February 6, Charlottesville City Council voted 3-2 to remove the Lee statue. Mayor Signer and councilor Kathy Galvin were the two votes against the measure. A similar vote on April 17 approved plans to sell the statue to an educational institution, museum, or nonprofit group.

A group filed a lawsuit in Charlottesville Circuit Court on March 20. They are arguing City Council acted beyond its authority, and that Virginia law bars anyone from disturbing, damaging, or interfering with monuments or memorials in relation to any war or conflict.

Judge Richard Moore issued a temporary injunction on May 2, stopping the city from going forward with plans to remove the statue from the park for six months. A court hearing on that lawsuit is scheduled to take place on August 30.

Signer is expected to make his announcement at CitySpace 12:00 p.m. Friday, August 18.

Press Release from Charlottesville:

Mayor Mike Signer will make a major announcement regarding the Robert E. Lee statue in Charlottesville, the legacy of Heather Heyer, and the public safety of future public events at 12:00 noon on Friday, August 18, at CitySpace.