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Protesters released from jail after felony warrants issued for Portsmouth Confederate monument incident

Posted at 11:39 PM, Aug 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-18 07:39:25-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Many of the individuals who were served felony warrants for their alleged involvement in the Confederate monument incident turned themselves into police Monday evening.

A group of public defenders were standing outside of the Portsmouth City Jail waiting for the release of some of their co-workers, former colleagues and also some members of the NAACP.

Public defenders and other supporters were standing in solidarity with the individuals who were given arrest warrants on felony charges during a Portsmouth Police press conference Monday. The charges stem from when the Confederate monument on Court Street was dismantled and pulled down from its pedestal on June 10.

During the June 10 incident, 45-year-old Christopher Lawrence Green was severely injured after protesters ripped off parts of the monument.

NAACP President James Boyd and Vice President Louie Gibbs walked out of the city jail on their own after they said they were held for 2 1/2 hours.

Boyd wouldn’t comment on the charges he’s facing and wouldn’t say if he was released on his own recognizance. He told News 3 that Monday’s action from police is about prosecuting individuals standing up for their rights.

“I like to emphasize to the citizens of Portsmouth that they need to pay attention to what’s happening,” Boyd said. “Any time you stand on the side of right, racism and bigotry reacts, and this is what happened today. This is an injustice and again we need to stand up and pay attention. Right now, we don’t have too much to say but we will have a lot to say when the time is right.”

Public defender Althea Mease said she was shocked and disappointed to hear about the charges.

“It was completely shocking, absolutely shocking. I never expected this,” she said. “It was clear, when I heard them read off the list of everybody who had been charged, that it was part of a deliberate tactic to target people who are fighting injustice and institutional racism in the community. Public defenders are an integral part of that effort.”

NAACP President Boyd said he was advised by his counsel to not comment, but he said he will have plenty to say in the next day or two.