DALLAS -- Hours after Dallas City Council voted to immediately remove a statue of Robert E. Lee, a temporary restraining order filed by a Dallas man stopped it before it could start.
There was passionate speech at Dallas City Hall Wednesday morning for and against the removal of the statue memorializing the Confederate general, but the Council's decision was swift and nearly unanimous, 13 to 1.
The statue would come down immediately.
For the next four hours, crews pried up the sculpture, ready to move it. But suddenly, they stopped, because of one man.
"It’s a part of history no matter what side you’re on, and I feel strongly of preserving history," said Hiram Patterson of Dallas.
Patterson is the plaintiff in this temporary restraining order against Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings and the entire City Council.
"We filed the injunction to prevent the City of Dallas from taking out the monument, moving it elsewhere," said Patterson.
He offered his name on behalf of the Sons of Confederate Veterans, of which he’s a proud member.
"Since the organization can’t file it, they needed someone who lived in Dallas to be the plaintiff, so I said, 'Sure, I’ll volunteer,'" said Patterson.
The restraining order claims removing the statue could create irreparable harm. WFAA asked him how, but Patterson admitted he hasn’t read all of the filing yet.
A federal judge did and granted it. The work in Lee Park stopped, but most council members barely batted an eye.
"We've basically won the game today," said Mayor Pro Tem Dwaine Caraway. "The Dallas City Council showed that Dallas is sensitive to want to be able to bridge our gap and come together as a unit."
"Honestly, I suspect tomorrow we'll have the order taken down, and we'll be back putting the crane out there," said Councilman Phillip Kingston.
Both sides are expected in federal court in Dallas Thursday at 1:30 p.m. for the first hearing on the motion for the temporary restraining order.
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