PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Supporters of the people arrested after the Portsmouth Confederate monument protests gathered Tuesday night to "demand justice."
The event took place in the parking lot of Grove Baptist Church, located at 5910 West Norfolk Rd., at 7 p.m.
Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who started a petition for Sen. L. Louise Lucas after her arrest, was also in Portsmouth asking for support.
“Until we get rid of these charges, it is time to raise some heck," McAuliffe demands.
He says it's important to stand with a colleague and friend.
“Something just doesn’t smell right. They wait the night she was supposed to start a special session on criminal justice reform," he adds.
This all comes after Police Chief Angela Greene announced that Lucas, NAACP members, school board members and public defenders were among several recipients of felony warrants issued in relation to the Confederate monument protest where a man was severely injured. The injury happened after part of a statue fell on him as protesters tried to remove it.
After this announcement, some have called for Chief Greene to step down and supported those charged. Fourteen people were originally charged, but two different attorneys and a city leader told News 3 that five more people were facing charges, bringing the total to 19.
Portsmouth Police confirmed Wednesday afternoon that the following individuals have recently been charged with felony destruction of property:
- Harmony Y. Harris
- John F. Morin-Leiding
- Lauren Patrise Jones
- Hannah Cuevas
- Raquel L. Ammons
HAPPENING NOW | Former Virginia Governor @TerryMcAuliffe just arrived at a community rally in @cityofPortsVA for @SenLouiseLucas and 18 others who face felony charges related to the events at the confederate monument in June. @WTKR3 https://t.co/r1zo7vornp pic.twitter.com/eFjZ25oUJw— Nana-Séntuo Bonsu (@NSBonsu_) September 1, 2020
Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax also spoke at Tuesday night's rally.
“I think the charges should never have been brought in the first place. It's clear to me that it was politically motivated with many conflicts of interest," Fairfax adds.
He believes the charges are examples of racial injustice.
"Our African American leaders are smeared time and time again, and things are done to try and remove them from office to make false allegations against them to use the trial justice system against them," Fairfax adds.
Lt. Governor @LGJustinFairfax says he’s not here to secure votes he’s here to “seek justice” for @SenLouiseLucas and the 18 others. @WTKR3 https://t.co/r1zo7vornp https://t.co/yN4i6q7G5Y pic.twitter.com/583q2Jm7nr— Nana-Séntuo Bonsu (@NSBonsu_) September 1, 2020
Congressman Bobby Scott was also in attendance. He used it as an opportunity to remind people the elections matter.
“Early voting starts September 18, 2020. Don’t mess this one up," he says.
Sen. Lucas says it's time for the community to come together.
“All this negativity and divisiveness is so unnecessary and so uncalled for," Sen. Lucas said at the rally.
Chief Greene has responded by saying in part, "I am aware that there are questions as to why my office investigated the destruction of the monument and proceeded with charges against the known offenders. My answer is simple, upon taking my oath of office when being sworn in as a law enforcement officer in the City of Richmond and then upon being sworn in as an Assistant Chief and then Chief of Police for the City of Portsmouth, I vowed to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia; and promised to faithfully and impartially discharge all the duties incumbent upon me, to the best of my ability. As the head of the primary law enforcement agency in the City of Portsmouth, it is my obligation to investigate all crimes that have occurred, and when probable cause exists, present that evidence for the prosecution, which is what was done in this matter."
Click here to read her entire statement.