Angela Greene, the former police chief of Portsmouth, Virginia, is suing the city for wrongful termination after administrators fired her on Monday.
Greene announced her intent to sue in a press conference immediately after receiving her termination notice. She asserted that city officials were retaliating against her for arresting a prominent politician and others in connection with the illegal toppling of a Confederate statue in June.
“Where do we go from here? Obviously, I have attorneys. We’ve talked and we have decided that we will file a wrongful termination suit,” Greene, who is black, said in the press conference. “Obviously, I believe that [I was] wrongfully terminated for upholding the law and being retaliated against for sticking to my sworn oath that I swore to serve and protect my citizens, community, and keeping my officers safe.”
“So, going forward … we want to make sure that this cycle and that law enforcement is able to continue to protect the community and continue to enforce the laws without interference from political leaders. And that’s all we ask for,” Greene said. “If we do not stand up and we do not take this moment to say that that’s all we want – is for our law enforcement officers to do the job that they were sworn to do, and provide the best service to the community, and to keep the community safe – then it will continue to happen if we don’t stand up against the political and elected officials that are interfering with this.”
Portsmouth police charged state Sen. Louise Lucas, an high-ranking Democrat in Virginia’s legislature, with conspiracy to commit a felony and destroy a monument in excess of $1,000. Police also charged 18 others, including a school board member and members of the local NAACP chapter, alongside Lucas, according to NBC News.
Greene announced the charges in August, saying that the plaintiffs “conspired and organized to destroy the monument as well as summon hundreds of people to join in felonious acts.” The June toppling of the Confederate statue took place during a riot connected with the Black Lives Matter protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s death on Memorial Day. Hundreds of those protests grew violent and resulted in significant destruction in American cities.
After Lucas was dismissed on Monday, the conspiracy charges against the 19 plaintiffs, including Lucas, were dropped. Lucas put out a statement on Tuesday decrying what she said was targeted abuse of the criminal justice system.
Greene and the police “made a mockery of the criminal justice system” by filing “obscure felony charges against me and other Portsmouth citizens and in so doing, they created a scandalous national embarrassment for our city,” Lucas said in a statement according to NBC News.
“It is obvious that everyone involved in that malicious investigation was determined to destroy me politically, professionally and personally,” she added. “Perspectively, I stood to lose my voting rights, my position in the Senate of Virginia (where I am the the first Black Legislator and the first woman to serve as Senate President Pro Temp) and my business license, which would have cut off my livelihood.”
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