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US DEMOCRATS have expressed anger over the decision to charge a black female Virginia state senator over damage to a Confederate monument.
Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene said on Monday that Louise Lucas was among those charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000 (£760).
Others include members of the local National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People chapter.
A Confederate monument in Portsmouth was damaged in Black Lives Matter protests in June, and the tearing down of one of the statues seriously injured one person.
Statues honouring the Confederacy, which seceded from the United States and fought and lost the subsequent civil war to maintain slavery, have been a common target of anti-racist protests since the police killing of George Floyd in May, and many state and city legislatures are acting to remove them.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia called for the charges against Lucas and several others to be dropped.
It said the charges constitute a stark overreach by police because they were not approved by the local prosecutor’s office.
Governor Ralph Northam said the decision to charge Ms Lucas, the first black woman to serve as a Virginia state senate pro tempore president (a role given to the longest-serving senator of the majority party), was “deeply troubling” while former governor Terry McAuliffe said: “Louise Lucas is a trailblazing public servant who isn’t afraid to do and say what she believes is right. Her opposition to a racist monument is the definition of what John Lewis called ‘good trouble.’ I stand with my good friend.”
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