By Associated Press - Monday, August 17, 2020

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — A Virginia state senator has been charged with two felonies for her alleged involvement in the damaging of a large Confederate monument during protests in the city of Portsmouth, authorities said Monday.

WAVY-TV reports Democratic state Sen. Louise Lucas faces charges of of conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000.

The monument stands on a site where slaves were once punished. It consists of a large obelisk and statues of four Confederate military personnel.

During protests in June, heads were ripped off some of the statues while one was pulled down, critically injuring a demonstrator.

Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene said during a Monday afternoon news conference that several people have warrants out against them. Besides Sen. Lucas, they include a local school board member as well as members of the NAACP and the public defender’s office.

The chief also said that her department is asking for help in identifying several others and has released images to the public.

WAVY was unable to reach Sen. Lucas for comment Monday, but the lawmaker has said previously that she did nothing wrong. Her attorney Don Scott told the station that he was just hearing about the charges.

Confederate monuments around the country have fallen in recent years amid contentious debate over whether they are proud monuments to Southern heritage or hated symbols of racism and past slavery. The debate has escalated anew in the nationwide protests over police misconduct and racism after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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