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Louise Lucas (C), a longtime member of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus, in the Senate at the Virginia State Capitol, in 2019. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) spoke out Monday evening after state Sen. Louise Lucas was charged with damaging a Confederate monument during a Portsmouth protest.

Why it matters: The veteran Black senator's charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument "in excess of $1,000" over the protest come as dozens of Confederate symbols are being removed, relocated or renamed across the U.S. in response to anti-racism protests in the wake of George Floyd's death in May.

"[S]everal individuals conspired and organized to destroy the monument as well as summon hundreds of people to join in felonious acts."
Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene

Driving the news: Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene told a news briefing earlier Monday Lucas was among several people including local NAACP leaders facing charges over the June 10 protest that caused "hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage to the monument" and "permanent injury to an individual."

What they're saying: "It's deeply troubling that on the verge of Virginia passing long-overdue police reform, the first Black woman to serve as our Senate Pro Tempore is suddenly facing highly unusual charges," Northam tweeted Monday evening.

  • Former Gov. Terry McAuliffe tweeted, "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."
  • ACLU of Virginia's executive director Claire Gastañaga told AP the charges were "political" and "discriminatory," noting Virginia is "one of the few states" where a felony warrant can be filed without the approval of a prosecutor.
A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

Go deeper

Nov 15, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Terry McAuliffe plans to run for governor of Virginia again

Terry McAuliffe at a Virginia State University homecoming parade. Photo: Parker Michels-Boyce for The Washington Post via Getty Images

Terry McAuliffe is telling friends he'll announce plans to again run for governor of Virginia in the coming weeks.

Why it matters: This could spark a divisive primary with younger, more diverse candidates and serve as a bellwether for 2024 races — including the next presidential election.

Updated 33 mins ago - World

Australia joins U.S. in diplomatic boycott of Beijing Winter Olympics

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. Photo: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

Australia is joining the U.S. in a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Games in protest of human rights abuses committed by China's government, Prime Minister Scott Morrison confirmed Wednesday.

Driving the news: After the Biden administration's announcement that U.S. officials won't attend the Games due to the ongoing genocide of Uighurs and other Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang region of China, Morrison said at a Sydney briefing that Australia would follow suit as "it's the right thing to do."

Progressives to file resolution to strip Boebert's committee seats

Rep. Lauren Boebert walking through the Senate side of the U.S. Capitol earlier this month. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

House progressives are planning to introduce a resolution on Wednesday to strip Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) of her committee assignments, according to a Democratic aide familiar with the matter.

Why it matters: The move, which was first reported by the Washington Post, comes as progressives — anxious to see the right-wing firebrand face retribution for her recent comments — have grown frustrated by Democratic leadership's inaction on the issue.