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Portsmouth, Chesapeake voters file petition to recall State Sen. Louise Lucas for 'misuse of office'

A document shared with 13News Now calls for Lucas to be removed from office "immediately," related to her alleged actions at a Confederate monument protest in 2020.

CHESAPEAKE, Va. — A group of voters went to the Chesapeake Courthouse Tuesday to file a petition to recall State Sen. L. Louise Lucas for "misuse of office."

“If you’re wrong. You’re wrong. This is about the law,” explained Portsmouth resident Stephanie Liverman, one of the people who filed the petition.

Lucas, a Democrat, represents the 18th District. That covers parts of Brunswick, Isle of Wight and Southampton counties, Chesapeake, Franklin, Portsmouth and Suffolk, and the entirety of Greensville, Sussex and Surry counties, and Emporia.

She also serves as President Pro Tempore of the Virginia Senate.

The petitioners picked Chesapeake to file their request because they said they didn't trust the courts in Portsmouth.

RELATED: Charges dismissed against state Senator Louise Lucas

A document shared with 13News Now calls for Lucas to be removed from office "immediately."

Liverman said, “No matter what happens with the court, the people have spoken. We the people.”

The claim of "misuse of office" revolves around Lucas's presence at a Confederate monument protest on June 10, 2020, where a statue was pulled down on a man in the crowd - damaging the monument and seriously hurting Portsmouth resident, Chris Green.

RELATED: Chris' Journey | One year after a Confederate statue hit Chris Green in Portsmouth, he fights his way back from a traumatic brain injury.

"Senator Lucas, using the authority of her office and position in the public, directed the Portsmouth Police Department Officers to not arrest any protestors and that the protestors were within their rights as taxpayers to vandalize the statue if they chose to," the petition says.

The group calling for her removal claims Lucas stopped police from making arrests at the protest, or disbursing the crowd, and contributed to the unruly behavior that led to the monument's vandalism and Green's injuries.

"The Vice Mayor of the City of Portsmouth came to the scene and pled with the protestors to allow the City Council to vote and properly remove the statute in accordance with the law," the petition reads. "In the middle of this plea, Senator Lucas told the crowd 'to hell with City Council and people have a right to be on their property' – further inciting the mob to engage in lawless behavior."

The group seeking her removal claims Lucas misused her senatorial office by telling police not to arrest protesters, telling protesters they wouldn't be arrested, shortcutting the legal removal of the Confederate monument and "undermining" local officials who came to ask the protesters to leave.

“This is about our senator, our elected Senator that misused her office and caused a riot in my opinion,” Liverman explained. 

The petition depends on a Virginia law that says a senator can be recalled if 10% of the number of people who voted in the last election agree to ask for that elected official to step down.

That crucial number, in this case, is 4,652 signatures. The petitioning group said they had that many.

"It’s up to the officials now," Liverman said.

She said court officials told her the petition heads to the board of elections and will eventually go in front of a judge.

13News Now reached out to Senator Lucas about the recall. She responded by saying, "Ask them to read the constitution."

Her attorney, Verbena Askew said, "I don’t think it’s going anywhere."