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Charges reportedly dismissed against Sen. Louise Lucas stemming from damage to Confederate statue
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Charges reportedly dismissed against Sen. Louise Lucas stemming from damage to Confederate statue

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Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth

A Portsmouth judge on Monday reportedly dismissed felony charges against Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth, and other African American leaders stemming from their roles in the June 10 toppling of a Confederate monument.

News outlets in Hampton Roads report that the defendants were in court Monday morning for what was to have been a pretrial hearing.

Lucas, a senator since 1992, is president pro tempore and presides over the Senate in the absence of the lieutenant governor.

Lucas was charged with conspiring to commit a felony, and felony injury to a public monument in excess of $1,000.

Supporters of Lucas criticized the severity of the charges and their timing, coming a day before the General Assembly convened for a special session to take up measures related to COVID-19 and racial injustice.

Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene said in August that the charges were  the result of a weekslong investigation into the June 10 incident, which left a local man critically injured after the statue fell on him during a protest.

The Virginian-Pilot reported Monday that Greene held a news conference and said she has been fired and that she plans to sue, asserting wrongful termination.

"I believe I was wrongfully terminated for upholding the law," she said.

Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who is preparing to run for governor again in 2021, tweeted Monday: "JUSTICE IN PORTSMOUTH. Our hero Louise Lucas and her fellow proud Portsmouth citizens deserve our admiration. Grateful this despicable political persecution is over."

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax, who last year faced two allegations of sexual assault, said in a statement: “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.”

The announcement comes a day before Lucas is scheduled to preside over a public hearing soliciting public input on whose statue should replace Virginia's statue of Robert E. Lee at the U.S. Capitol.

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