Cops Who Charged Civil Rights Leaders With Felonies Try To Sideline Progressive ProsecutorBreaking News
tags: memorials, Confederacy, Police, monuments, Protest
The Virginia police department that slapped a prominent politician, local civil rights leaders and public defenders with felony charges related to the destruction of Confederate statues is also pushing to prevent a progressive prosecutor from handling the cases.
And it’s doing so by claiming the prosecutor is a potential eyewitness ― even though she says she wasn’t at the scene of the protests.
The Portsmouth Police Department announced Monday that it put felony warrants out against Virginia Senate Pro Tempore Louise Lucas (D), a local school board member, leaders of the local NAACP and public defenders. The felony charges and warrants, announced at a press conference by Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene, quickly drew scrutiny from Democrats and civil rights leaders in Virginia, who saw both the broad charges and the timing of Greene’s announcement as suspicious.
The charges include felony injury to a monument and conspiracy, related to the destruction of Confederate statues in Portsmouth in June during protests against police brutality and anti-Black racism. Demonstrators beheaded four statues and pulled down one, which fell onto and seriously injured one of the protesters on the scene. While court documents have not been made publicly available, it appears that Portsmouth police took a very broad view of what it meant to enter into a conspiracy to destroy the statues. Greene stated that the investigation identified “several individuals [who] conspired and organized to destroy the monument as well as summonsed hundreds of people to join in the felonious acts.”
Typically, the commonwealth’s attorney would prosecute those cases. But the office of Stephanie Morales, the commonwealth’s attorney in Portsmouth, said Tuesday that police arrest warrants and a probable cause summary had listed Morales as a witness, “which could effectively create a conflict of interest and prohibit the Commonwealth’s Attorney from being involved in the job she was elected, by the citizens of this city, to do.”
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