Public reacts to judge's order temporarily halting removal of Confederate monument from U of L campus
A judge has ordered workers to stop tearing down a Confederate monument at U of L in response to a lawsuit that city officials say caught them off-guard -- and now the public is reacting.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The Confederate monument at the University of Louisville is becoming the center of a war zone.
Louisville realtor and congressional candidate Everett Corley is going to battle with Mayor Greg Fischer and Metro Government trying to keep the 70-foot tall statue standing at the corner of 3rd Street and Brandeis Avenue.
"...The mayor is out of line," Corley said while waiving a temporary restraining order in front of the Jefferson County Judicial Center in downtown Louisville.
The order stopped crews Monday from taking the statue down, as ordered Friday by Mayor Fischer and U of L President James Ramsey. Corley claims removing the display would cause irreparable harm.
"It is a hugely important symbol of the culture, the architecture, and the history of Louisville," Corley said.
Corley clams the city is breaking local, state and federal historic preservation laws. Ironically, the order came as Mayor Fischer announced the creation of a Historic Preservation Task Force in Louisville.
"We're moving it, just the place for it." Mayor Fischer said. "The reason for it being there has changed a lot since 1895. It was put on the edge of the city. It was not in the middle of the university where it is right now."
U of L Professor Ricky Jones says he expected the pushback. He'd worked with students for nearly 20 years to see the statue removed.
"Is the U of L going to be a school like it was in 1950, when blacks were not allowed to attend it, or is it going be a 21st Century university?" asked Jones. "Is the city of Louisville and the state of Kentucky going to be North Carolina, or will we be different and better?"
Despite the order, you could clearly see crews working on the monument Monday, but we were told the work was preliminary. They were testing to see exactly what it was made of and taking pictures, but nothing will actually come down until the legal issue is settled.
The issue is due back before Judge Judith McDonald Burkman Thursday at 10:30 a.m. for a hearing on a temporary injunction. It brought tension to the courthouse. County attorney Mike O'Connell says he didn't event get a chance to speak on the stop order.
"I'm not over hear to politically grandstand like this man is here to my left," O'Connell said. "We will defend this vigorously."
"This is part of history and you can't just erase history by tearing down our monuments," said Thomas McAdams, Corley's attorney. "That's what the Taliban does. That's what ISIS does."
The monument reflects a dividing time in our nation's history -- and has split opinions once again.
"Honestly, I think it's a great step in the right direction," said U of L student Caitlin Edwards.
"I feel like it should stay there," said Megan Wurth, a U of L student. "You can't erase the past. You have to learn from it."
"We are going to continue this fight until the monument stays where it is for the next 150 years," Corley said.
The Sons of Confederate Veterans - Kentucky Division and another Louisville resident have also signed onto the case.
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