PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene has been fired from her position more than two months after being placed on administrative leave.
WAVY’s Andy Fox met her in a city parking garage ahead of a scheduled meeting Monday morning, and she said she was aware of the possibility of the firing but said she was hopeful she would be retained. However, WAVY learned shortly after that she was terminated, and the city had already taken away access to her computer and city vehicle.
The meeting was with Acting City Manager LaVoris Pace and lasted minutes.
“I was terminated and I am one less badge and one less gun,” Greene said after leaving the meeting Monday.
She says she was read a letter of her firing and not given an explanation during the meeting Monday. She received no severance pay, and says she has young children and an elderly parent.
Greene held a press conference after the firing and claims she never did anything wrong and will file a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city.
“I believe what would be fair is full reinstatement, because I did nothing wrong. That would be fair that would be my first option,” Greene said.
Greene was placed on leave back in September with pay in the wake of the June incident at the city’s Confederate monument, which led to a man being seriously hurt and more than a dozen Black community leaders, including State Senator Louise Lucas, being charged. Lucas and others had those charges dismissed in court on Monday.
It’s still unclear whether Greene being placed on leave was directly tied to the case, but she had been under scrutiny and faced calls to resign for alleged conflict of interest after charging Lucas and the others. Lucas was seen on body camera earlier that day in June telling Portsmouth police officers they couldn’t arrest protesters who were getting ready to spray the Confederate monument with paint, but wasn’t at the larger demonstration that night.
Other major developments after Greene filed the charges including the resignation of City Manager Dr. Lydia Pettis Patton, who said Greene shouldn’t have been involved in the investigation, and the firing of City Attorney Solomon Ashby. Ashby later filed a $2 million defamation lawsuit against Mayor John Rowe.
Greene says she filed the charges “because laws were broken” and says she believes local politicians shouldn’t interfere with police matters. Greene also said she didn’t have officers advance on the demonstration that night in June because she feared they might face criminal charges.
We asked Greene whether she would argue there were political and city leaders that wanted the monument to be defaced, to which she nodded her head “yes.” We also asked whether she believed they didn’t want her to pursue charges in connection with the monument vandalism — also a “yes.”
Greene took over as chief in 2019, after former chief Tonya Chapman said she was forced to resign from the post. Chapman had been vocal about alleged racism she encountered at the department.
For Greene, she’s supported by longtime officers like Capt. Steve Hassell, who heads up the Portsmouth Chaplains’ Unit.
“I’ve been involved with the police department 44 years. I have served under 13 chiefs, and by far, Chief Greene is the best chief Portsmouth has ever had,” Hassell said.
Portsmouth resident, Sherry Meyer, was in tears as Greene spoke outside after she was fired.
“I am so proud she stood up to them,” Meyer said.
A fund has been set up to help Greene with her expenses.
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