‘Monuments can be replaced – lives cannot’: Portsmouth mayor defends police department’s decision not to intervene during protest

Portsmouth

Drone 10 flew over the Portsmouth Confederate Monument on June 11, 2020, the morning after protesters covered it with spray paint and tore parts of it down.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) – Mayor John Rowe says Portsmouth Police made the correct call not to act as protesters vandalized the downtown Confederate monument Wednesday night.

LIVE BLOG: GoFundMe set up for man severely injured during Portsmouth Confederate monument demonstration; State Police investigating incident

“Our police department made the right choice – confine the vandalism to this one piece of public property so as to protect the remaining private property and lives,” Rowe said in an official statement Thursday afternoon.

It is Rowe’s belief that police involvement could have created more damage and injuries, as seen in other cities.

“We can repair property; we cannot bring back a life that is lost in these demonstrations,” said Rowe.

READ: Mayor Rowe Monument Statement

One man was seriously injured during the Wednesday night demonstration in Portsmouth. The man, identified as Chris Green, was knocked unconscious when one of the monument’s soldier statues toppled onto him. A GoFundMe has been established to help with medical expenses.

Wednesday night after the protest, Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene said she never gave her officers an order to ignore the destruction of the monument.

10 On Your Side reached out to the Portsmouth Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office, which confirmed Thursday it did not give direction to any police agency regarding enforcement during the destruction of the monument. Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Shea Coleman also confirmed their office has not initiated any independent investigations.

Portsmouth City Council has scheduled another special virtual meeting for 5 p.m. on June 11. They plan to stream it live on the city’s website and on Facebook. You can also watch it live right here on WAVY.com.


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