A suspended police chief in Virginia, who made the extraordinary decision to charge a state senator with felonies on the theory that her rhetoric inspired vandalism on a Confederate monument, has cultivated an active right-wing fan base over email and social media, a HuffPost investigation has found. This cadre of followers has cheered the charges against the senator, a Democrat who wants to increase scrutiny on law enforcement and had called for the police chief’s resignation.
Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene announced at an unusual press conference in August that her department had attempted to sideline the city’s elected prosecutor and gone straight to a magistrate judge to obtain felony warrants against Sen. Louise Lucas (D), local civil rights leaders and city public defenders for conspiring to cause “injury to” Portsmouth’s Confederate monument. A total of 19 defendants were charged.
Lucas, who had no role in the city government or authority over police officers, said that officers couldn’t arrest protesters who painted over the city’s monument to the Confederacy. Several hours later, some demonstrators beheaded four statues of Confederate soldiers and pulled one down, injuring a protester. Lucas has said she was there for about a half-hour and left around 2:45 p.m., while the monument didn’t come down until late into the evening.
Sergeant Kevin T. McGee of Portsmouth’s property crimes unit filed the charges, and stood behind Greene at a press conference where she announced them. He theorized that Lucas’ rhetoric on the afternoon of June 10 was part of a conspiracy to destroy the monuments, in violation of a 70-year-old state law that originally referred to the Civil War as the “War Between the States.” Greene previously praised McGee after he launched a political attack on Lucas and criticized the city’s public defenders, several of whom he’d later charge with felonies.
Greene, according to emails obtained by HuffPost...