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Court order blocks removal of Lee statue from Dallas park

Workers prepare for the removal of a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee at a public park in Dallas, Wednesday, Sept. 6, 2017. The Dallas City Council voted to remove the statue, but a last-minute court order blocked the removal as work crews were prepared to take down the monument. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

DALLAS (AP) — A last-minute court order has blocked the removal of the statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a park in Dallas even as work crews were prepared to take it down.

U.S. District Judge Sidney Fitzwater granted a temporary restraining order requested Wednesday by Hiram Patterson. His attorney, Kirk Lyons, said Patterson is a Dallas resident and taxpayer and member of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.

The Dallas City Council had voted 13-1 earlier Wednesday to remove the statue, which is in Robert E. Lee Park just north of downtown. A city task force was to determine later what to do with it.

Police officers stationed at the park and crews brought in a crane to remove the statue as about 25 people watched.

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