As lawmakers arrived in Richmond for a special session to rewrite the budget and adopt criminal justice reform, lawmakers are buzzing about one of their own members charged with a felony.
Senator Louise Lucas is the president pro temp of the Senate, and she presides over the chamber when the lieutenant governor isn’t around. She’s also now facing felony charges in Portsmouth for injury to a Confederate monument.
Delegate Cia Price of Newport News says she wasn’t aware that injury to an inanimate object was a felony.
“The timing was political, and they sent us a message," she says. "But our message is reform is coming. Games are not, and I look forward to them clearing her name.”
President Pro Tempore of the Senate @SenLouiseLucas moves that the Senate adjourn until noon tomorrow, ending the Senate's first day of special session. Lucas has been the center of attention this week because @PortsmouthPD is charging her with "injury" to a Confederate monument pic.twitter.com/ot3rFl5c4U
— Michael Pope (@MichaelLeePope) August 18, 2020
The charges come just as lawmakers are meeting in Richmond to consider banning police use of no-knock warrants and chokeholds as well as setting up civilian review boards and requiring judges rather than magistrates to sign off on search warrants executed at night.
“I think it’s the police gone rogue," says Claire Gastanaga at the ACLU, adding that the charges against Senator Lucas were signed off on by a magistrate rather than the local prosecutor.
“It’s not a good picture for them to draw in a circumstance in which people are genuinely concerned about the lack of civilian engagement in reviewing the behavior of police or deciding how they want to be policed,” explains Gastanaga.
The chairman of the Republican Party of Virginia is calling for Senator Lucas to turn herself in.