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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.

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.

2 hours ago - World

Map: A look at world population density in 3D

This fascinating map is made by Alasdair Rae of Sheffield, England, a former professor of urban studies who is the founder of Automatic Knowledge. It shows world population density in 3D.

Details: "No land is shown on the map, only the locations where people actually live. ... The higher the spike, the more people live in an area. Where there are no spikes, there are no people (e.g. you can clearly identify ... the Sahara Desert)."

Biden's Day 1 challenges: The immigration reset

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President-elect Biden has an aggressive Day 1 immigration agenda that relies heavily on executive actions to undo President Trump's crackdown.

Why it matters: It's not that easy. Trump issued more than 400 executive actions on immigration. Advocates are fired up. The Supreme Court could threaten the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, and experts warn there could be another surge at the border.