Virginia senator charged with 2 felonies after Confederate monument protest
Since her arrest, Louise Lucas has not released a statement.
Louise Lucas, a Virginia state senator, among others, has been charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000.
The charges come after an incident on June 10, when protesters demanded the removal of a 127-year-old Confederate monument in Portsmouth, Virginia. During those protests, the Portsmouth city council moved to schedule a public hearing on the relocation of the monument six weeks later.
The hearing was a required step of the relocation process under state law.
However, according to local affiliate WAVY, less than three hours after the city council meeting, protesters began dismantling pieces of the monument themselves. They allegedly splashed it with paint and decapitated the soldier statues.
One man, Chris Green, was hit and critically injured by one of the soldier statues as protesters pulled it down. He eventually recovered from his injuries.
Reports at the time of the incident accused Lucas of directing police to allow the vandalism to take place. Lucas told WAVY that she was “deescalating” the situation after two NAACP members were arrested.
“All I said to the chief of police is the two NAACP chapter leaders James Boyd and Louie Gibbs are not going to be re-arrested,” Lucas said. “I said to the protesters this is city property you are able to protest here if you want.”
Also charged in the June 10 incident were three members of the Portsmouth NAACP, a Portsmouth school board member, three public defenders, along with several other community members.
In a statement, police chief Angela Greene said that Lucas played a role in “organizing the destructive demonstration and rallied hundreds to be there.”
Governor Ralph Northam tweeted, “It’s deeply troubling that on the verge of Virginia passing long-overdue police reform, the first Black woman to serve as our Senate Pro Tempore is suddenly facing highly unusual charges.”
Lucas, a 76-year-old African American woman, has represented the 18th district of Virginia in the statehouse since 1992.
Since her arrest, she has not released a statement.
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