Sons of Confederate Veterans says it’s appealing decision on statue removal

FILE - In this Aug. 18, 2017, file photo, a statue of Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest sits in a park in Memphis, Tenn. The Republican-dominated House in Tennessee has voted to punish the city of Memphis for removing Confederate monuments by taking $250,000 away from the city that would have been used for planning a bicentennial celebration in 2019. (AP Photo/Adrian Sainz, File)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The Sons of Confederate Veterans local chapter said Thursday it’s appealing a judge’s ruling on Memphis’ removal of three Confederate statues from city parks last year.

The chapter had sued the city of Memphis and Memphis Greenspace, claiming the city’s transfer of two parks to nonprofit Memphis Greenspace was illegal.

However, a Davidson County judge last week ruled the transfer was legal.

Chancellor Ellen Hobbs Lyle ruled May 16 that the monuments’ removal didn’t violate the Tennessee Heritage Protection Act, which limits the removal or changing of historical memorials on public property. Memphis leaders used a legal loophole by selling the parks for $1,000 to a private nonprofit, which then removed the monuments.

Bruce McMullen, the city’s chief legal officer, said last week that the city anticipated that any decision would be appealed to the state Supreme Court, and said the city is prepared to defend itself again.