PORTSMOUTH, Va. - A press conference was held in reference to incidents that happened at the Confederate monument in the city on June 10.
Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene announced on Monday that Portsmouth Sen. Louise Lucas, NAACP members, school board members and public defenders were among several felony warrants issued in relation to the June Confederate monument protest.
The Portsmouth Police Department is still trying to identify 13 other individuals associated with the incident. Some are pictured above. Detectives are also asking for anyone who may have video footage from during the incident to please share those videos with the Portsmouth Police Department by clicking here.
Chief Greene said, “Our incident was the only incident of a man being gravely injured," when talking about protests around the nation in the wake of George Floyd's death in Minneapolis.
During the June 10 incident, 45-year-old Christopher Lawrence Green was severely injured after protesters ripped off parts of the monument on Court Street.
She said the Portsmouth SWAT team had to come in and clear the area to get Green medical help. The Chief said, "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 10th which cumulated in the life altering injury of Mr. Chris Green."
Earlier in the day, protesters were seen covering parts of the monument and the Portsmouth NAACP President and Vice President were arrested in the afternoon for "trespassing."
There was confusion between Portsmouth officials that week after the coverings were put on the statue and that confusion lead to Portsmouth Mayor John Rowe's letter to City Council outlining what he called "false statements" made by Senator Louise Lucas. Rowe said he viewed body camera videos from officers who were at the Confederate Monument protest on Court Street the afternoon of June 10. He said the videos showed the moments leading up to the monument being spray painted just after 2 p.m. Mayor Rowe claimed that Sen. Lucas said in the videos that she had talked with him about what was going on at the monument and suggested that he had given authority to the "actions which followed."
Sen. Lucas responded by saying she had not spoken with Mayor Rowe about this situation adding, "He was on the phone with Vice Mayor Lisa Lucas-Burke when I was on the phone with Dr. Lydia Patton. I was inquiring about the NAACP Officers being arrested and she told me that no one was going to be arrested."
Former Governor Terry McAuliffe weighed in on Sen. Lucas' charges saying, "Louise Lucas is a trailblazing public servant who isn’t afraid to do and say what she believes is right. Her opposition to a racist monument is the definition of what John Lewis called “good trouble”. I stand with my good friend."
Governor Northam responded to Sen. Lucas' charges tweeting, "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. Sen. Lucas, I look forward to seeing you in Richmond tomorrow—so we can get to work."
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus says they strongly condemn the "suspiciously timed and seemingly retaliatory actions" by the Portsmouth Police against Senate President Pro Tempore with the following statement:
The VLBC strongly condemns the suspiciously timed and seemingly retaliatory actions by the Portsmouth Police against Senate President Pro Tempore @SenLouiseLucas.— VLBC (@VaBlackCaucus) August 17, 2020
Full statement below: pic.twitter.com/3wKYnzL2nR
Sen. Lucas tweeted hours after the announcement of her charges. In her tweet, she responded to former Governor Terry McAuliffe's earlier tweet:
One question that remains after the warrants announcement is will Portsmouth Commonwealth Attorney Stephanie Morales follow through?
News 3 asked her earlier and she was not aware of Green’s plan to file charges.
But a text exchange between the two on the day of the protests showed Morales did not support any charges as the protests began.
News 3 obtained the exchange through the freedom of information act.
In the texts Morales asks if anyone from the NAACP was arrested to let her office know so that her office could intercept and dismiss charges if appropriate.
Later in the exchange, Morales asked to leave “violators will be prosecuted” off of the no trespassing sign placed on the monument.
A GoFundMe has been created by Tidewater Solidarity to raise money for legal aide for those issued a warrant. As of Monday, $1,300 out of the $5,000 goal have been raised.
Anyone who has information about this case or knows the identities of those pictured are asked to call the Portsmouth Crime Line at 1-888-LOCK-U-UP. Callers can also submit an anonymous tip through the Crime Line’s “P3 Tips” app or via their website.