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Charges dismissed against local senator, other leaders stemming from Portsmouth Confederate monument protest

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Posted at 9:22 AM, Nov 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-16 18:30:34-05

PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Felony charges were dismissed Monday morning against Sen. Louise Lucas and other leaders.

These charges stemmed from a Portsmouth Confederate monument protest that happened back in June.

Sen. Louise Lucas, Portsmouth NAACP members, school board members, public defenders and others received felony warrants for arrest in connection to the protest where a man was severely injured.

Lucas was and several others were charged with a conspiracy to commit a felony and felony injuring to a monument.

On Monday News 3 was in court where a judge dismissed all charges.

Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Morales asked the judge to dismiss charges because she says based on the evidence, her office cannot and will never be able to prove Lucas or anyone else is guilty of the charges brought by the Portsmouth Police Department.

Morales also raised serious concern over the police department’s procedures in the case.

"The investigator indicated that he attempted to start the investigation into their element of value on October 8, as to each of the individuals involved. And to be clear, you cannot start an investigation into value months after the incident has occurred and then have given probable cause on a good faith basis months prior," said Morales.

The judge decisively agreed and said the police department’s action appeared to be motivated by something other than law enforcement and public safety.

"It was an attempt by a rogue police department to criminalize the system against us and make a mockery of justice," said Lucas. This remains the senator stance despite the police department's claims that Portsmouth NAACP members brought spray paint and tagged the statue along with the Portsmouth Public Defender and her office with permission from Lucas.

The monument has since been taken down by the city, but the fight continues for the Portsmouth NAACP who led the protest for its removal.

"That was one symbol of oppression and slavery that came down, but there are several others in our education system, there’s several others in our economic system, there are several others in every other system that we have in the city," said Portsmouth NAACP President James Boyd.

The charges were dismissed "with prejudice" so none of the defendants can be brought back to court on these same charges.

Now Lucas and her attorney are calling for the attorney general to investigate the police department's actions.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax Tweeted a statement saying, “The false and improper charges in Portsmouth against ⁦‪Sen. Louise Lucas‬⁩ have finally been dismissed! The fight for justice and fairness is often difficult but always worthwhile.”

Earlier Monday morning, Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene was fired. Greene said she was not given a reason for her termination. She said she was given a letter Monday morning and that she will be filing a wrongful termination suit with her attorneys.

Greene was previously put on administrative leave a few weeks after filing those charges.

Related: Former Virginia Gov. McAuliffe starts petition to show support for Sen. Lucas after arrest