Judge Dismisses Charges Against Sen. Louise Lucas
A Portsmouth judge has dismissed felony property damage charges against Sen. Louise Lucas and other Black community leaders.
Former police chief Angela Greene -- who was fired less than an hour before Lucas' case was heard -- charged Lucas and 18 others for allegedly being part of a protest at the city's Confederate monument over the summer. Protestors vandalized the monument and toppled part of it, seriously injuring one man.
The charges against Lucas vindicated a faction of the city that is currently working on gathering signatures to recall her. Some said she abuses her power as a state senator to put political pressure on non-elected leaders in Portsmouth.
But the charges also made statewide politicians question Greene's motivations.
"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," Gov. Ralph Northam tweeted the day Lucas was charged. It was the day before a special General Assembly began.
Greene, who filed the charges against Lucas, is also Black.
Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe called the charges "political persecution" on his Twitter.
"President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas is a trailblazer and hero for all Virginians," McAuliffe wrote in a separate statement. "(Her) opposition to the Portsmouth Confederate monument is exactly what he late John Lewis would have called 'good trouble.'"
Lucas is a prolific leader in Portsmouth and the state. She currently serves as President Pro Tempore of the Senate – the first Black woman to do so – and has represented Portsmouth there since 1992.
Immediately prior to that, she was the first Black woman elected to Portsmouth City Council in 1984.
Lucas' office did not immediately provide comment on the dropped charges.