According to the report, Lucas is one of several people, including other local leaders, who are facing charges of conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000.
CNN reports that charges have also been filed against a Portsmouth school board member, three public defenders and local NAACP chapter members.
The attempts to dismantle the monument lead to the “life threatening” and “permanent injury” of a man, Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Green said during a news conference on Monday.
Lucas, a longtime Democrat who has served on the state Senate since 1992, is the first Black woman to serve as president pro tempore of the chamber. So far, she has not responded to the charges lobbed against her.
According to WAVY, police did not directly confirm why Lucas was facing those charges. However, body camera footage from June 10 showed Lucas telling officers that protesters were going to paint the statue and telling officers, “You can not arrest them.”
The ACLU of Virginia and officials, including Governor Ralph Northam, have questioned the charges brought against the state senator.
“TAKE NOTE: Police, not a prosecutor, got a magistrate to charge Sen. Lucas & other protesters with felonies,” the ACLU of Virginia tweeted out. “This is another example of the disparate policing Black people continue to experience daily. It is also an example of why civilian review of policing is important.”
“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 added.
The Virginia Legislative Black Caucus also questioned the timing of the charges, noting that “Sen. Lucas plans to patron a bill this Special Session that will strengthen the ability to independently investigate police departments statewide.”
“This timely, suspiciously retaliatory attack on the first Black person and Woman to serve as President Pro Tempore of the Virginia State Senate is unacceptable,” the VLBC added.