Judge rules Confederate statues will remain in Charlottesville despite deadly white nationalist rally

Chris Riotta
Confederate Civil War General Robert E Lee' statue at Lee Park in Charlottesville, Virginia: Getty Images/iStockphoto

A pair Confederate statues will remain standing in the city of Virginian city Charlottesville where clashes over their removal left a young woman dead.

After city officials decided to remove statues of Confederate American Civil War generals Robert E Lee and Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson, one resident filed a lawsuit to prevent this.

It was submitted months before August 2017's “Unite the Right” rally, which saw hundreds of white supremacists descend on the city.

Clashes erupted with counter protesters before a self-identified white supremacist deliberately drove his car into a crowd, killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer and injuring 19 others.

He later plead guilty to 29 federal crimes in exchange for prosecutors' agreeing not to seek the death penalty.

A pair of police officers also died during the rally after when their helicopter crashed after they completed aerial surveillance of the demonstrations.

The statues at the center of the protests, will however remain standing Judge Richard Moore disagreed with the city's assertion that a state law protecting war memorials violated the US Constitution because the statues sent a racist message.

The law’s intent was historic preservation, not discrimination, he said.

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“I don’t think I can infer that a historical preservation statute was intended to be racist,” he said. “Certainly, [racism] was on their minds, but we should not judge the current law by that intent.”

He then issued a permanent injunction preventing their removal.

The Associated Press contributed to this report