Community members hold ‘Take Back Portsmouth’ rally outside city hall to support police chief placed on administrative leave


PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Community members held another rally in support of Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene on Sunday.

The “Take Back Portsmouth” rally happened at 3:30 p.m. at Portsmouth City Hall.

Greene was placed on administrative leave earlier this month with pay for 30 days, pending the outcome of an internal investigation.

Assistant Chief Scott Burke is currently serving as interim chief. Burke, a 22-year veteran of the force, has served as assistant chief for the past two years.

The details of the investigation are not clear at this time, but Greene has been under intense scrutiny after the department charged State Senator Louise Lucas and other prominent Black community members in connection to a demonstration at the Portsmouth Confederate monument, in which the historic structure was painted and damaged.

This is the third rally is support of Greene.

Their message Sunday was clear, just as it was before. They believe Greene should still hold her position as Chief of Police in the city — without consequence. 

Tim Anderson, an organizer of the event and Virginia Beach lawyer, said that as we get closer to the initial deadline of the one-month suspension, worries begin to arise that it may be longer. This has pushed the group to organize fundraising for the chief to help with potential legal fees.

“She is making a salary to sit at home, for what, what is she doing? She’s not doing anything. So, they need to make a decision of either reinstating her or firing her. Then, let the courts decide what’s going to happen if that occurs,” he said.

As an attorney himself, he said there are grounds for a lawsuit, but he hopes it doesn’t get that far.

“It’s illegal to interfere with someone’s business relationship and the city is claiming that she is under investigation, but we haven’t seen that investigation,” he said.

Anderson said his message today was to also remind people of the choices they have come elections in two months.

“They can write letters to the city council and then they can vote. The elections in Portsmouth are in November and a lot of these people are up for election. I think the council that are not supporting the chief, should be held accountable at the polls,” he said.

Although Chief Greene could not attend the rally, her children did. Her daughter said she is in a frustrated state, just as they are.

“It personally frustrates me, especially knowing her and knowing the type of person she is. How she only means well and tries to do everything good by people, and then bad things happen to her,” her daughter said.

A week after Greene was placed on administrative leave, residents around Portsmouth organized a “Support Chief Greene” rally where nearly 250 people gathered outside City Hall.

Anderson was one of the organizers Sunday who called for the protest in response to the recent suspension of Greene.

“She didn’t do anything wrong. They suspended her because she charged people that are in power. She comes here and does her job, and the police department loves her,” said Anderson. “She does her job and now they’re suspending her. It’s unbelievably outrageous. It’s an injustice and it’s a slap in the face to the rule of law.”

A fundraiser for Greene’s legal expenses has been set up and received more than $6,000 as of Monday morning.

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