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The law just caught up with a Democratic state senator in Virginia and several NAACP members for their part in destroying a Confederate monument back in June.
State Sen. Louise Lucas has reportedly been charged with two felonies related to the incident that took place in Portsmouth on June 10 when the 127-year-old Confederate monument was torn down, injuring a man in the process. Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene announced the charges against the Democrat and several others during a press conference on Monday.
(Source: WAVY TV)
Lucas, who attempted to throw Greene under the bus after the incident as she called for the police chief to be fired, was part of a weeks-long investigation into the destruction of the property as monuments and statues around the country were being attacked in riots and protests.
The longtime Democratic legislator is facing charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000, according to Greene who said that “several individuals conspired and organized to destroy the monument as well as summon hundreds of people to join in felonious acts.”
The actions “not only resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the monument, but also permanent injury to an individual,” she added, referring to the demonstrator who was critically injured when the vandals attacked the monument which included four Confederate military personnel.
Lucas, who is President pro Tempore of the Senate, has maintained that she has done nothing wrong.
Three Portsmouth NAACP representatives, a Portsmouth School Board member and others were charged with the same felony charges as Lucas. Several public defenders and others also face a felony charge of injury to a monument in excess of $1,000. The charges were announced as a special legislative session is underway to deal with criminal justice reforms.
NOW REMEMBER under @VASenate rules…@SenLouiseLucas can be reprimanded and/or censured by a majority vote. @vademocrats have control by a 21-19 margin and @LGJustinFairfax could always break a tie. So for any discipline…2 D’s would likely have to join w/all R’s @WAVY_News pic.twitter.com/rGbiVAJ0ZT
— Brett Hall (@BrettHNews) August 17, 2020
Green announced Monday that several warrants had been secured and asked that those named would turn themselves in.
In addition, the police department is still trying to identify 13 other people who were involved and asked for the public’s help, including providing any video footage from the scene they may have recorded. Investigators compiled evidence for weeks, beginning right after the June incident which prompted the Portsmouth City Council to hold an emergency meeting.
Councilman Bill Moody suggested at the time that Lucas, Vice Mayor Lisa Lucas-Burke and Councilman Shannon Glover were complicit in the vandalism as they were on the scene as protesters converged on the monument. The police chief asserted that she never gave her officers a stand-down order while Lucas claimed Greene had “abdicated her responsibility to maintain peace and failed to uphold the law.”
“I said to the protesters this is city property you are able to protest here if you want,” Lucas said at the time, defending her actions while maintaining that she did not encourage the destruction. Police body camera footage appeared to show the lawmaker telling police they could not stop the unfolding attack.
Lucas later filed a $20 million defamation lawsuit against a local attorney who started a petition to recall the lawmaker.
The attorney currently representing Lucas dismissed the charges filed Monday as just a political game.
“Consequently they’re doing what they always do which is they weaponize the criminal justice system against black leadership and that’s what they’re doing this time we’re gonna fight it vehemently, we’re gonna fight it vigorously,” Don Scott told WAVY TV.
Virginia’s Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam thought the charges were “highly unusual,” telling the senator he looked forward to seeing her at work the next day, to which Lucas responded.
@GovernorVA I look forward to seeing you tomorrow as we go to work on legislation that will be transformative. https://t.co/mmWggKVR2v
— L. Louise Lucas (@SenLouiseLucas) August 18, 2020
Naturally, the American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia slammed the charges as an overreach by the police.
TAKE NOTE: Police, not a prosecutor, got a magistrate to charge Sen. Lucas & other protesters with felonies.
This is another example of the disparate policing Black people continue to experience daily. It is also an example of why civilian review of policing is important. https://t.co/nqDPr4xXZl
— ACLU of Virginia (@ACLUVA) August 18, 2020
But the Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Rich Anderson urged Lucas to turn herself in.
“Felony charges leveled against a sitting state senator are to be taken seriously, and should not be sought out for political gain,” he said in a statement. “It is for that reason that the Republican Party of Virginia calls for Senator Lucas to turn herself in. Immediately.”
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