MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Attorney General Steve Marshall announced today that he has filed a new lawsuit against the City of Birmingham for its removal of a historic monument in violation of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act. The lawsuit seeks additional penalties after the City lost a similar lawsuit filed by the State in 2017.
The Memorial Preservation Act was passed in 2017 by the Alabama Legislature to protect architecturally significant buildings, memorial buildings, memorial streets, and monuments located on public property for 40 or more years. The Act specifically charges the Attorney General with the duty of enforcement, much as he is authorized to prosecute all civil actions necessary to protect the rights and interests of the State.
“The State of Alabama first filed suit against the City of Birmingham in 2017 after the City erected barriers around the monument in Linn Park. In November 2019, the Alabama Supreme Court sided with the State and determined that the City of Birmingham had violated the law and was subject to the Act’s penalties. However, the Court held that any violation of the Act was punishable only by a one-time fine of $25,000 per violation. Though legislation was filed in the 2020 session seeking to amend the penalties provision of the Act in response to the Court’s ruling, that legislation failed to become law,” said Marshall.
“On Monday, I advised Mayor Woodfin that the removal of the 115-year-old Confederate Soldiers and Sailors monument in Birmingham’s Linn Park would violate the law and that I would fulfill my duty to enforce it. Monday night, the City of Birmingham removed the monument and today I am filing a new lawsuit against the City for violating Alabama law.”
The State lawsuit is linked here.