Charlottesville removes Robert E. Lee statue that sparked 2017 rally

The statue — along with another of Confederate Gen. Stonewall Jackson that was also to be removed Saturday — will remain on city property until the city council decides what to do with them. Ten groups have expressed interest in the statues, according to a statement from the city.

"Taking down this statue is one small step closer to the goal of helping Charlottesville, Virginia, and America, grapple with the sin of being willing to destroy Black people for economic gain," Charlottesville Mayor Nikuyah Walker said as the crane neared the Lee monument, the Associated Press reported.

The removals were set in motion by a 2016 petition started by a local high school student. The city council voted to take the statues down early the next year, but that action was delayed by a legal challenge that was ultimately rejected by the Virginia Supreme Court this April.