RICHMOND, Va. -- Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney ordered the immediate removal of multiple Confederate monuments in the city, citing an urgent need to protect the public.
The mayor introduced the resolution to City Council Wednesday, along with two reasons for immediate action.
Shortly after that meeting, city crews arrived on Monument Avenue to remove the Stonewall Jackson monument.
Stoney said failing to remove the statues presents a "severe, immediate and growing threat to public safety" and the immediate removal will expedite the healing process for the city.
“As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to surge, and protesters attempt to take down Confederate statues themselves, or confront others who are doing so, the risk grows for serious illness, injury, or death,” said the mayor. “We have an urgent need to protect the public.”
The mayor argued that since Richmond was under a state of emergency and he is in control of emergency management, he had the right to remove the statues using his emergency powers.
Stoney says the removed statues will 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.
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. He said the money spent would be reimbursed by a private fund.
A majority of the council has expressed support for the removal of the monuments.
The Office of Governor Ralph Northam released a statement Wednesday afternoon regarding the removal of Conferate statues in Richmond.
"Governor Northam was proud to introduce and sign legislation that empowers localities to remove the confederate monuments in their communities. He has made it clear he views these statues as symbols of oppression — that’s why he is fighting to remove the Robert E. Lee monument in Richmond, the only monument under state control. Questions about localities’ timing and/or processes would have to go to them. But make no mistake — Robert E. Lee is next."
Stay with CBS 6 for the latest on this developing story.