Black vice mayor charged after calling for Virginia police chief’s firing

Lisa Lucas-Burke, vice mayor of Portsmouth, Virginia faces criminal charges after calling for the police chief to be fired.

Portsmouth Lisa Lucas-Burke
Lisa Lucas-Burke (Photo: Facebook)

After calling for the firing of the local police chief, the vice mayor of Portsmouth, VA. is now facing charges of her own.

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According to HuffPost, Tommy Dubois, a white resident, got the idea to file a criminal case against vice mayor Lisa Lucas-Burke from a Facebook group. The state allows citizens to bring criminal charges against others by making their case in front of a magistrate judge.

Lucas Burke is being charged with violating the “noninterference in appointments or removals” provision of the Portsmouth city charter, an obscure law that nevertheless remains on the books.

The Facebook page is advocating for the recall of Lucas-Burke’s mother, Virginia State Sen. Louise Lucas (D), currently the highest-ranked Black-female elected official in the state. Senator Lucas faced felony charges in June following protests against Confederate monuments.

As reported by theGrio, she, as well as a group of protesters, were arrested and charged with the conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000.

Lucas allegedly informed protesters they had the right to demonstrate and attempted to block the arrest of two leaders against the wishes of police chief Angela Greene.

Tim Anderson, a Virginia Beach attorney, leads the effort to remove Lucas on the Facebook page. He accused her of inciting a riot, according to HuffPost. She currently has a defamation lawsuit against the lawyer.

Some believe the cases of both mother and daughter highlight a pattern of misusing the criminal justice system for personal motives against Black politicians.

“It appears that the political enemies of Sen. Lucas are also the enemies of her daughter,” state Del. Don Scott (D), who is representing Lucas, told HuffPost.

Dubois, however, claims that the vice mayor’s public demand for the firing of the police chief constitutes a misdemeanor crime and would have been filed regardless of her race.

He is one of several residents who support Greene as police chief. They stand on her identity as a Black woman as proof that their actions are not motivated by skin color.

“The race card I really don’t understand, because the police chief’s Black, the city manager’s Black, half the city council’s Black, half the city is Black, so I don’t understand throwing the race card out there at all,” Dubois said to HuffPost.

“She broke the law, or the city charter, which is essentially the law,” he continues. “You can’t have politicians doing whatever they want whenever they feel like it, and that would be for anybody, whether it was another city council member who was white, or whatever the case, I would do the same thing.”

HuffPost reports that the charges against Lucas-Burke carry no jail time, however, if she is convicted she would be forced to resign from her position as a city council member and give up the vice mayor’s post.

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Lucas-Burke tells the news outlet the charges are “bogus” and declined further comment.

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