Man files petition to block permanent removal of Roanoke’s toppled Confederate monument

ROANOKE, Va. – A man is taking legal action to block the permanent removal of the Robert E. Lee monument in Roanoke’s Lee Plaza, which police said was toppled over this week by a 70-year-old Roanoke man who later turned himself in. Liniel Gregory Jr. believes the monument’s removal would open the door for the removal of other local monuments honoring war veterans, not just those pertaining to the Civil War. According to Gregory Jr.‘s petition to block the monument’s removal, which was filed earlier this month, the goal is to “protect the unalienable rights of the citizens of Roanoke to vote for such an important and emotional issue.”The damaged Lee monument is now sitting in storage, but Roanoke Mayor Sherman Lea said this week that the damage to the monument won’t stop city leaders from removing it through legal means. “It is an unfortunate incident, but this will not deter us from going through the legal process to remove the monument,” said Mayor Sherman Lea. “We have a public hearing scheduled for the second (City) Council meeting in August to allow citizens to give their input on this matter, and we will proceed based upon the outcome of the public hearing.”Gregory Jr.‘s petition expresses concern that Roanoke citizens, including veterans or family members of veterans, will “be denied the right to vote yea or nay to destroy the history of the city, county Commonwealth or America.”