Judge rejects right-wing group's petition to expel Black lawmaker for protesting Confederate statue
Virginia Senate President Pro Tempore Louise Lucas (YouTube).

On Friday, The Washington Post reported that a state judge in Virginia has quashed a petition from a right-wing group to expel a Black state lawmaker for participating in a protest that led to damage to a Confederate monument.

"Few expected the petition of 4,600 signatures gathered by members of the Virginia Tea Party to succeed against Sen. Louise Lucas, a longtime Democratic legislator and a key Statehouse power broker," reported Ben Finley. "The judge quickly ruled that, under Virginia's Constitution, only the state Senate can expel one of its members. 'There is a process for that,' Chesapeake Circuit Court Chief Judge John W. Brown said from the bench. 'This is not that process.'"

The petition stemmed from Lucas' actions at a demonstration against a Confederate statue in Portsmouth, Virginia in 2020.

"The 19th century memorial was drawing heightened scorn at a time when many monuments to the Confederacy were being taken down, whether by demonstrators opposed to racial injustice or by authorities seeking to dismantle them through official channels," said the report. "Such memorials have long been viewed by many as symbols of white supremacy. But they were drawing increasing attention after Floyd's death. Portsmouth police would later claim that Lucas was with a group of people shaking up cans of spray paint and had told officers they were 'going to put some paint on this thing, and y'all can't arrest them.'"

Lucas was served an arrest warrant and turned herself in over the incident, but the charges were ultimately dismissed. She has since filed a civil suit against the local police.