PORTSMOUTH, Va. - Vice Mayor Lisa Lucas-Burke was served with misdemeanor charges on August 24, she told News 3.
On October 13, officials stated that Lucas-Burke's case was dismissed. Lucas-Burke's lawyer presented the judge with part of a statute that disallows the investigation of elected officials, regardless of a complaint.
JUST IN: Case dismissed against Portsmouth Vice Mayor Lisa Lucas-Burke. Court hearing just happened this am https://t.co/2e1MNegO6v— Brendan Ponton (@brendanponton) October 13, 2020
Portsmouth resident Thomas Dubois took out the charges with the magistrate over the weekend of August 22, alleging Lucas violated the city charter by calling for Police Chief Angela Greene to be terminated.
The two charges were class 3 calling for Police Chief Angela Greene to be terminated. Misdemeanors are punishable by a fine, but not jail time. If Lucas-Burke had been convicted, she would have had to give up her city council seat. She is currently running for re-election.
Section 3.11 of the city code says members of city council cannot direct or request the removal of an employee who works for the city manager.
In August, News 3 asked Lucas-Burke what power the city council had to fire the chief if the city manager didn't do it. "We could fire [the city manager]," Lucas-Burke responded, but she noted Dr. Lydia Pettis Patton is scheduled to retire at the end of the year. “Day one of the new city manager - if we don’t fire Angela Greene by then, that’s the first order of business that I want the city manager to take care of."
Lucas-Burke's mother, Sen. Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth), was one of 14 people charged related to the destruction of the city's Confederate monument in June.
While these charges have led some to question Chief Greene's motives, she defended herself in a statement. "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," she said.