by WorldTribune Staff, August 18, 2020
Virginia state Sen. Louise Lucas has been charged with two felonies for her alleged involvement in the destruction of a large Confederate monument during riots in the city of Portsmouth, reports say.
Lucas, a Democrat, faces charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000, WAVY-TV reported.
The monument consists of a large obelisk and statues of four Confederate military personnel.
During protests in June, heads were ripped off some of the statues while one was pulled down. When the statue was pulled down, it fell onto and critically injured one of the rioters, local reports said.
Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene said during a Monday afternoon news conference that Lucas is one of several people who have warrants out against them for destroying the monument. They include a local school board member as well as members of the NAACP and the public defender’s office.
Greene said that “several individuals conspired and organized to destroy the monument as well as summon hundreds of people to join in felonious acts,” adding those acts “not only resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the monument, but also permanent injury to an individual.”
The chief also said that her department is asking for help in identifying several others and has released images to the public.
The charges were filed the same week Virginia lawmakers are taking up dozens of criminal justice reforms during a special legislative session.
“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,” Gov. Ralph Northam, a Democrat, tweeted on Monday.
Republican Party of Virginia Chairman Rich Anderson said Lucas should 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,” Anderson said. “It is for that reason that the Republican Party of Virginia calls for Senator Lucas to turn herself in. Immediately.”
Lucas has said previously that she did nothing wrong.