Mayor Bell files motion to dismiss lawsuit over Confederate monument

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — Mayor William Bell has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed against him and the City of Birmingham for covering up a Confederate monument.

Back in August, Mayor Bell ordered city workers to erect a plywood covering that surrounded the base of the Confederate Soldiers and Sailors Monument at the entrance of Linn Park. Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall filed a lawsuit stating that Bell violated the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act.

Governor Kay Ivey signed the act into law, which protects long-standing monuments by prohibiting the removal or alteration of physical structures or names of buildings that are more than 40 years old. The act also states that a commission would have to approve changes to buildings and structures between 20-40 years old.

AG Marshall alleges that the city broke the law by “altering” or “otherwise disturbing” the monument with the covering.

Bell argues that covering the base of the monument could not be considered “altering” or “otherwise disturbing” the structure based on the act, which does not define those terms.

Mayor Bell’s order to cover the monument came in the wake of violence perpetrated by white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia back in August, which left one person dead and many others injured. The violence began with protests over the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee.

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