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Virginia senator to receive $300k to settle protest lawsuit

A Virginia state senator will receive $300,000 under a settlement in a lawsuit the senator filed after she was charged with damaging a Confederate monument during a 2020 protest

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The charges against Sen. Louise Lucas, D-Ports-mouth, come a day before the start of a special legislative session on COVID-19 and police reform.

PORTSMOUTH — The city of Portsmouth will pay a Virginia state senator $300,0000 under a settlement in a lawsuit the senator filed after she was charged with damaging a Confederate monument during a 2020 protest.

Portsmouth police charged Sen. Louise Lucas and several others with conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000 after a protest that drew hundreds of people to a local Confederate monument. The heads of Confederate statues were ripped off and one statue was pulled down, critically injuring a demonstrator.

Two months later, former Portsmouth police Chief Angela Greene announced felony criminal charges against Lucas and 18 others, including NAACP leaders, public defenders and a Portsmouth School Board member.

A judge later dismissed all charges in the case. Greene was fired the same day.

Lucas served Greene and the police officer who filed charges against her with the $6.75 million lawsuit in November 2021, alleging malicious prosecution, false imprisonment and gross negligence. It also accused Greene of defamation.

The Virginian-Pilot reports that the lawsuit was settled in mediation on Dec. 23. Under the agreement, Lucas will release the defendants and the city from future liability, said Burle Stromberg, the interim city attorney.

Lucas, a longtime Democratic state senator, said she was pleased with the settlement and plans to donate the money.

“I also understand that any settlement from a locality impacts their ability to fund critical programs in our community,” Lucas said in a statement Friday. “That’s why I am pledging that I will be donating the entirety of what I receive in the settlement to the charitable efforts in our community I have been involved with for so many years.”

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