PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — The monument drama continues in Portsmouth.
Fourteen prominent people, including State Sen. Louise Lucas, were charged Monday following the destruction of the Confederate monument in June that left a man seriously injured.
Now, there’s a new effort to throw the book at Lucas’ daughter, Lisa Lucas-Burke, the vice mayor in the city. Some say Lucas-Burke’s demands for the firing of Police Chief Angela Greene violate a section of the city charter that says council members cannot call for the firing or resignation of any city employee.
Portsmouth has been in the national headlines twice this summer: First, for the protest that toppled a portion the city’s vandalized confederate monument, and now for how Greene has handled the matter.
In a unique move, the police chief has said Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney Stephanie Morales cannot prosecute the 14 cases because she has been named as a potential witness.
Virginia Beach attorney Tim Anderson, who launched an effort to recall Lucas from her role as senator following the June 10 protest, posted a video Friday on social media that includes a clip of the vice mayor speaking at a news conference called by the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Steering Committee, where activists called for the immediate resignation or firing of the police chief.
Anderson’s post included a section of the city charter, which states it’s a class 3 misdemeanor for a member of the council to call for the removal of any person from employment with the city.
However, Lucas-Burke has called for the firing of the police chief and she’s not backing down.
“I can express my opinion, just like any other citizen, and I am an elected official of this community so I have a responsibility to relay their [the public] concerns,” said Lucas-Burke.
An email written by investigating officer Sgt. Kevin McGee and sent to some members of City Council has also surfaced. In the email, which was sent June 11 shortly after the monument was damaged, McGee praised the police chief but called Lucas’ criticism of the chief “disgusting” and “repulsive.”
Lucas-Burke told 10 on Your Side she never received the email from McGee and the address used for her was incorrect. She proffered that the mistake may have been intentional.
Former sheriff Bill Watson is watching the entire controversy unfold from the sidelines in Carrollton, Virginia. On Facebook Friday, Watson created a post to apparently recruit a Portsmouth citizen to file a warrant for the arrest of Lucas-Burke. The Portsmouth native told 10 on Your Side he is embarrassed by the monument drama.
“People in Portsmouth are tired of feeling like they work for council. Council works for the people, not the other way around,” said Watson.
Lucas-Burke told 10 on Your Side in recent days says has been the subject of racist attacks and threats, including an early morning threat Friday to vandalize her home or yard with green paint.
Lucas-Burke said she suspects the threat came from someone who supports the Portsmouth police chief.
“I have not encountered this type of racism toward me and my family — ever — in my 57 years,” said Lucas-Burke.
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