Delegate Bell Supports Keeping Lee Statue in Charlottesville Park
58th District Delegate Rob Bell said he supports keeping the Lee statue, but he does not condone the violent behavior that occurred during the Unite the Right rally.
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The future of the statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee could be decided by a Charlottesville Circuit Court judge.
Judge Richard Moore issued a temporary injunction on May 2, stopping the city from going forward with plans to remove the statue from Emancipation Park for six months.
The plaintiffs filed their lawsuit in Charlottesville Circuit Court on March 20. They claim Charlottesville City Council acted beyond its authority when it voted 3-2 to remove the statue.
State law says it is unlawful for anyone to disturb, damage, or interfere with monuments or memorials in relation to any war or conflict.
The city is arguing, though, that the statue is not a war memorial.
Wednesday, August 18, 58th District Delegate Rob Bell said he believes Charlottesville’s statue of the Lee does fall under that law.
"I think it's a historic monument. It has been there for many many years, and I think that if there’s an alternative narrative that the people want to present, they can of course present their narrative even on the same spot. So, if someone wants to create additional information, if they want to put up another statue, of course they have the power to do that and I think they should, but I don't think we should go about tearing it down like that. I think that's a mistake,” Bell said.
The Republican legislator said he supports keeping the statue, but he does not condone the violent behavior that occurred during the Unite the Right rally on Saturday, August 12.
Bell believes, even though the “alt-right” cited the statue debate as their reason for the rally, it was not connected to the racial violence.
The lawsuit is expected to be taken up again in Charlottesville Circuit Court later in the month.