Restraining Order On Robert E. Lee Statue Dismissed, City Can Remove It

UPDATED | September 7, 2017  10:20 PM

UPDATE: A judge has dismissed the restraining order against the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue. The City of Dallas can now remove it.

Despite court clearance, the city will not be removing the statue today, according to Dallas City Council member Dwaine Caraway.

“We will allow some time to get ourselves together and determine what the next move will be is that you will eventually be remove. We have no restrictions or timeframe,” said Caraway.

Judge Sidney Fitzwater said he was no indication the city blocked due process or violated anyone’s rights in their vote and discussion to immediately remove the statue.

The judge said the plaintiffs failed to show any proof of their right to free speech was blocked during the city council meeting that determined the fate of the statue.

The judge said city leaders violated no rights with the vote to remove the Lee statue.

Beth Biesel, who opposes the statue’s removal said, “It’s a part of history, and history can be good bad and ugly, and tearing it down doesn’t make the ugly go away.”

Last Thursday afternoon the city released the following statement:

The City is pleased with today’s ruling, lifting the Temporary Restraining Order that halted removal of the Robert E. Lee sculpture. This has given us clearance to continue our effort to remove the statue from Lee Park. No time frame for removal of the statue has been determined at this time.

On Thursday night, some long-time Dallas area residents came to see the statue of the Confederate general before it came down.

Watch CBS11’s MaryAnn Martinez’s report here:

Barricades were set up, police were in place and streets were blocked off. Workers were already at Lee Park getting set to bring down the Robert E. Lee statue with a crane. But a phone call from a judge stopped the whole thing just minutes before crews could finish the job.

Those who gathered to watch the statue come down were shocked.

The Dallas City Council voted 13-1 on Wednesday to remove the monument. However, shortly after the vote, a member of the Sons of Confederate Veterans filed a restraining order that was granted by that judge. Now, a 1:30 p.m. hearing on Thursday afternoon could start a legal battle.

“To just throw away monuments because they did bad things or good things, I just consider it a travesty. And they shouldn’t do that,” said Hirem Patterson with Sons of Confederate Veterans.

The monument will remain in place until the court makes a decision, or the judge dismisses the order entirely. If the order is dismissed, then the statue would come down immediately. Lee Park itself could also be renamed. Both sides of this issue have brought strong feelings to the table.

“I don’t see any reason why the statue should be up,” said Robert Hall.

Samuel Vistraim said, “We begin to tear down buildings and statues, where is it going to end?”

The organization which cares for Lee Park also weighed in on this issue. “There are established and lengthy protocols for park naming. We are hoping that process can be expedited and the council will simply return the park’s moniker to Oak Lawn Park, which was the original designation of the property when the park was established in the early 1900s.”

In the meantime, people have been stopping at the statue on Thursday to snap pictures before it possibly comes down. Dallas resident Richard Trussell explained, “Regardless of the politics behind it, this is a historical piece of Dallas that is about to be lost.”

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