Senator Louise Lucas has filed to have felony charges against her dismissed; the charges are linked to a June 10 protest at the Portsmouth Confederate monument. Lucas’ motion calls the charges an “illegal and unsanctioned police action.”
“Permitting any rogue local law enforcement agency to investigate an elected official without oversight would create a system whereby localities could attempt to intimidate and influence state officials at will,” the motion states. It cites Virginia Code § 52-8.2, which states, “No investigation of an elected official of the Commonwealth or any political subdivision to determine whether a criminal violation has occurred, is occurring or is about to occur under the provisions of § 52-8.1 shall be initiated, undertaken or continued except upon the request of the Governor, Attorney General or a grand jury.”
According to the motion, that section of the Virginia code is meant to prevent independent police action unjustly targeting elected officials.
Chris Green, the man who was seriously injured when part of the monument fell on him in the protest, returned home Friday, according to a GoFundMe page. A post on the page said, “Guess who’s home!! Thank you for all the prayers and support!! The journey still isn’t done but we are half way there!!”
Also on Friday, a magistrate declined to press charges against Portsmouth City Council Members Bill Moody and Elizabeth Psimas. NAACP chapter President James Boyd and Vice-President Louie Gibbs sought to have the council members charged for using a group email to instruct Police Chief Angela Greene to charge Lucas. According to the Daily Press, Virginia Beach Chief Magistrate Michael Poulson did not believe there was enough evidence to file the charges. Poulson was called in by the Portsmouth magistrates to avoid a conflict of interest.
In August, a private citizen charged Vice-Mayor Lisa Lucas-Burke with a similar city code violation for her comments calling for Chief Greene to be fired. On Friday, Lucas-Burke told the Daily Press that the magistrate revealed a racist double standard in the city by not allowing charges to be filed against Moody and Psimas, who are both White.
“Some are treated one way, others are treated another,” Boyd told the Daily Press. “We will look at other venues to make sure we eradicate the bigoted disparity in the system, the double standard.”
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