Norfolk Gets Okay to Remove "Johnny Reb" Statue

Oct 23, 2019

Johnny Reb Statue
Credit Couper Family

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) - The commonwealth's attorney of Norfolk, Virginia, says the city can remove a Confederate monument, despite a state law that bars the removal of war memorials.

News outlets report Attorney Gregory Underwood filed court documents Tuesday seeking to dismiss a city lawsuit that says the state law infringes on its right to free speech. Underwood says that he and state Attorney General Mark Herring don't believe the law applies to the city's 80-foot (24-meter) Confederate monument of a solider nicknamed "Johnny Reb."

The 1904 law initially applied to counties and was expanded in 1997. However, the city's bronze monument was erected in 1907. In 2017, Herring issued an opinion that said the law didn't apply retroactively to statues erected before the law's expansion.

It's unclear when the statue will be moved.