Authorities in Virginia have issued an arrest warrant for Louise Lucas, a Black state senator who has been charged with damaging a Confederate statue in Portsmouth last month.
According to the Washington Post, Lucas is among the local leaders charged in the June incident, which occurred during the nationwide protests against police brutality and racial injustice. Law enforcement said the partial dismantling of the monument resulted in "life threatening" and "permanent injury" of a man. Louise is now facing charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000.
"During this time of our nation’s unrest, which was a direct result of the heinous death of Mr. George Floyd, countless monuments across our nation were being defaced by protestors," Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene said during a Monday press conference. "Many of those localities investigated the acts of destruction and subsequently charged the responsible parties well after the incidents were over."
The Post reports at least five other local leaders were charged in connection to the damaged statue; they reportedly include a local school board member as well as members of the local NAACP chapter and the public defenders office.
"These charges are political, and I think they're discriminatory," Claire G. Gastañaga, executive director of the ACLU of Virginia, told CBS News. "The police department is making decisions about who should be charged in a circumstance in which the elected (prosecutor) is being bypassed ... The police want a different result."
In the months since BLM protests broke out, many demonstrators have called for the removal of Confederate statues in public spaces, while others have taken matters into their own hands by defacing and even toppling the monuments.
Sen. Lucas, who has been a member of the state senate for nearly three decades, addressed the charges at Tuesday's General Assembly special session: "It's just an unnecessary nuisance," she said, "but you know what? I will be vindicated."