Updated, 4:15 p.m.

A man briefly attempted to cut the black covering that was draped over the Robert E. Lee statue earlier today.

John Miska then told those gathered at Emancipation Park that he thinks the placing the tarp on the statue is illegal and a desecration. He also said he'll comply with police.


Charlottesville has shrouded its statues of Robert E. Lee and Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson in black.

City Council made the decision Tuesday morning at the end of a chaotic meeting that was taken over by people upset with the decisions that led up to the Aug. 12 white nationalist rally, as well as the violence that followed.

City staff began installing the shrouds at 1 p.m. and finished within an hour.

Heather Heyer was killed in a car attack described by many as white nationalist terrorism. and at least 30 others were injured. James Alex Fields Jr. has been charged in her death.

Later in the day, two Virginia State Police troopers died when their helicopter, which had hovered over the rally for much of the day, crashed in Albemarle County. The black shrouds are serving as a symbol of the city's mourning.

In addition to the planned removal of the Lee statue — on hold because of a court injunction in a lawsuit against the city — councilors voted to direct the Board of Architectural Review to make a decision on removing the nearby Jackson statue.

The statue lawsuit is slated to go to trial Sept. 1, according to Charlottesville Circuit Court records.

On Tuesday, a spokeswoman for Del. David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville, said the city’s representative in the House of Delegates is working on a bill to amend the state law prohibiting the removal of certain war memorials, which is the basis of the lawsuit.

Toscano spokeswoman Erin Monaghan said the House minority leader is “proposing to allow localities to remove monuments if they choose to do so.”

Toscano was not available Tuesday to comment on the proposed legislation that would be considered during the 2018 General Assembly session, which begins the second week of January. Mayor Mike Signer last week asked for an emergency assembly session, but a spokesman for Gov. Terry McAuliffe said the matter will have to wait, with litigation already pending.

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