A judge has ended a restraining order that barred the city of Louisville from removing a 120-year-old monument to Confederate soldiers that sits near the University of Louisville.
A group of residents and the Sons of Confederate Veterans opposed removing the 1895 stone obelisk monument and won a temporary restraining order a few days after Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced it would be removed on April 29.
Jefferson Circuit Judge Judith McDonald-Burkman on Wednesday presided over several hours of testimony from the monument’s supporters, who argued that the city does not own it and that it could be damaged or crumble if it is removed.
Fischer released a statement on the ruling Wednesday afternoon:
“I am pleased with the judge’s ruling that the city owns the monument and has the right to move it. We will await the judge’s final written ruling before taking next steps. In the meantime, my team will be working with the Commission on Public Art and the University of Louisville to evaluate disassembling, restoring and relocating the monument.”
Ricky Jones, chair of U of L’s Pan-African Studies department and an advocate for removing the statue, said the judge’s decision reflects a broader societal shift in thinking.
“What we saw today was 21st century sensibilities on one side and 19th century sensibilities on the other, and the judge moved on the side of progress, decency and humanity,” he said.
Burkman asked that the city not take any action until she issues a written ruling.
This story has been updated.