At least five culprits have been charged with felonies following the destruction of a Confederate statue in Portsmouth, Virginia in June, including a Democratic state senator, according to The Hill.
The Portsmouth chief of police, Angela Greene, announced the charges in a press conference on Monday. Among those charged was State Senator Louise Lucas (D-Va.), who now faces two felony charges of “conspiracy to commit felony” and “injury to a monument in excess of $1,000.” Alongside Lucas, the Portsmouth police also charged “three Portsmouth NAACP representatives” and “a Portsmouth school board member,” among others, for their involvement in the destruction that occurred on the night of June 10th. The police are also actively seeking at least 13 other suspects who have not yet been caught.
The incident in question went viral when rioters, after having climbed on top of the monument and using hammers and straps to weaken it, pulled the statue down so suddenly that it fell on one of the protesters, a black man. He suffered a serious injury directly to the head, with witnesses saying that there was blood everywhere and that some of them could even see parts of his skull showing. He was taken to the hospital, where he eventually fell into a coma.
Chief Greene noted that “of all the incidents that occurred across our nation, our incident was the only incident that resulted in a man being gravely injured.” She added that “it is my hope that my community truly understands that at no point did any member of the Portsmouth Police Department condone the felonious acts that occurred on June 10th.”
Lucas was recorded on the night in question being belligerent towards police officers as they attempted to break up the violence, saying to officers, “I’m telling you, you can’t arrest them.”
The incident came at the height of race riots and far-left protests across the country, fueled by baseless accusations of “systemic racism” in America’s police departments, and claims that America was built on “white privilege.” At the peak of the violence in the month of June, hundreds of monuments were targeted for vandalism, including religious monuments such as statues of Saint Junipero Serra, as well as monuments to Founding Fathers such as George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.
The nationwide riots have since mostly stopped, including the widespread destruction of monuments, after federal actions were taken by President Donald Trump and Attorney General William Barr that included expediting the process of arresting and prosecuting the culprits of monument vandalism, as well as sending hundreds of federal agents into the most violent cities to suppress the riots.