Virginia state senator faces felony charges after Confederate monument protest

Virginia state senator faces felony charges after Confederate monument protest
© Getty Images

A Virginia state senator faces two felony charges following an incident at a June protest at a Confederate monument in Portsmouth, Va., police announced Monday.

State Sen. Louise Lucas (D) was charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000 during the June 10 demonstration, Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene said during a press conference. 

During the June 10 demonstrations, protesters vandalized and broke apart the Confederate monument, leading to the serious injury of one male protester when parts of the statue fell on him, local TV station WAVY-TV 10 reported

ADVERTISEMENT

The department also charged three Portsmouth NAACP representatives, a Portsmouth School Board member and members of the public defender’s office.

“What is important to note is that of all the incidents that occurred across our nation our incident was the only incident that resulted in a man being gravely injured,” Greene said during the Monday press briefing.

“So it is my hope that my community truly understands that at no point did any member of the Portsmouth Police Department condone the felonious acts that occurred on June 10,” she added.

The police issued the warrants after collecting written, video and audio evidence from that day, the police chief said. 

Greene added that the police are “actively investigating” the case and requested the public’s help in identifying 13 other people documented in photos.

Lucas and her lawyer Don Scott did not immediately return a request for comment. 

Police body camera video obtained by WAVY-TV 10 showed Lucas telling police that they could not stop the protesters. 

“I’m telling you, you can’t arrest them,” she said in the recording.

Local attorney Tim Anderson had advocated through a petition for Lucas to be recalled after the protest, leading the state senator to respond with a $20 million defamation lawsuit, according to the local station.

Protests erupted nationwide in late May and early June in response to the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody. Demonstrators across the country called for the removal of Confederate monuments, sometimes taking matters into their own hands through vandalization or destruction.