Birmingham, Ala., Mayor William Bell (Al.com screenshot)

While states across the nation are trying to figure out how to get rid of the second-place trophies of traitors, the Alabama Attorney General’s Office has apparently deemed it a good idea to file a lawsuit against the city of Birmingham and its mayor, William Bell, for allegedly violating state law by covering a Confederate monument currently on display in Linn Park.

“In accordance with the law, my office has determined that by affixing tarps and placing plywood around the Linn Park memorial such that it is hidden from view, the defendants have ‘altered’ or ‘otherwise disturbed’ the memorial in violation of the letter and spirit of the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act,” Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a Wednesday afternoon statement. “The city of Birmingham does not have the right to violate the law and leaves my office with no choice but to file suit.”

Right, Steve.

Anyway, the lawsuit, which was filed Wednesday afternoon, asks a judge to declare that the city has indeed violated state law and to impose a $25,000 fine for each day (like, what in the world?) that the monument is covered, AL.com reports.

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Mayor Bell, however, appeared unconcerned Wednesday afternoon, telling reporters that the city’s legal department had reviewed the law and adding that the plywood barrier that was erected did not break the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act.

“We have not altered the monument in any way,” Bell insisted. “The structure that we put around it is a protective barrier as well as a structure that doesn’t touch the monument in any way.”

Bell said the plywood barrier was installed to protect the monument from possible vandalism following the violent white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., over the weekend. But most of all, Bell said, he is looking forward to the courts clarifying the law.

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“We look forward to having some clarification as to what the municipal authority is over parks of the city of Birmingham and what we can and cannot do with any item that might sit on the park,” he said.

As AL.com notes, the Alabama Memorial Preservation Act was passed and signed into law in 2017, and it prohibits the relocation, removal, alteration, renaming or disturbing of any memorial building, street or monument that has been on public property for 40 years or more (a not-so-subtle way to protect Confederate monuments).

The Southern Poverty Law Center president, Richard Cohen, has blasted the attorney general for pushing forward with the suit.

“In the wake of deadly violence in Charlottesville, cities around the country are questioning why in a nation dedicated to equality for all, we continue to celebrate and memorialize the Confederacy. Some of these cities are even removing Confederate monuments from public spaces. But in Alabama, state officials are suing the city of Birmingham for trying to do what is right,” Cohen said in a statement.

“The Alabama Legislature should never have passed a law banning the removal of these symbols which represent the oppression of an entire race. Gov. Kay Ivey should never have signed it. If the leaders of Birmingham—a city forever linked to the civil rights movement—believe such monuments do not represent their city’s values, they should have the ability to remove them,” he added. “This law demonstrates that white supremacy and hate prevail in Alabama. It will continue to force people of color to live and work in communities where they remain in the shadow of the Confederacy.”