(CNN)A Virginia police chief has been fired after charges were dropped against Senator L. Louise Lucas and 17 others in the partial dismantling of a Confederate monument in June.
An attorney for dismissed Portsmouth police Chief Angela Greene contended Tuesday she was put on administrative leave in September then fired on Monday for essentially for doing her job.
"She was instructed by the city to ignore what she believes to be the criminal acts of these political individuals and refused," said her attorney, Thomas Plofchan Jr., to CNN. "She was then put on administrative leave, then terminated."
City spokesperson Dana Woodson confirmed Greene's termination, but did not provide any details or cause as to whether it was related to the monument protest. The Portsmouth Police Department referred CNN to the city spokesperson.
Prosecutors said they could not prove criminal intent by Sen. Lucas, who is president pro tempore of the state Senate, and the others. The Portsmouth Commonwealth's Attorney's Office also said in court filings that the Portsmouth police failed to timely document the value of the damage to the monument.
Greene announced the charges against Lucas and others in August. Lucas was charged with conspiracy to commit a felony and injury to a monument in excess of $1,000. Charges were also filed against a Portsmouth school board member, local NAACP chapter members and three public defenders, among others.
Lucas, who is the first African American and woman to serve as president pro tempore of the state Senate, according to the Virginia Senate Democrats Facebook page, believes the Portsmouth Police Department "made a mockery of the criminal justice system" by filing "obscure" felony charges against her, she said in a statement.
"Everything that I have worked for all of my life was on the line with those bogus charges," Lucas said in a statement to CNN. "It is obvious that everyone involved in that malicious investigation was determined to destroy me politically, professionally, and personally."
The Incident and dismissal of the charges
The initial incident took place on June 10 during a protest in the aftermath of George Floyd's killing in Minneapolis.
Floyd's death renewed public interest in wanting Confederate monuments and flags taken down. The effort to remove the Portsmouth monument -- built in 1876 -- "resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage," Greene alleged this summer.
The Portsmouth incident resulted in the injury of a man when part of the statue fell on him, according to Virginia State police. Chris Green suffered "life threatening" and "permanent injury," former Chief Greene said in the summer.
Nineteen individuals were charged in connection with the incident but only 18 were arraigned and processed, according to CaShea Coleman, spokeswoman for the Portsmouth Commonwealth's Attorney's office. The 19th individual is "similarly situated with the charges to be dismissed," she said.
The Portsmouth Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, in a press release issued Monday, said there was no attempt to assess the damage to the monument for almost four months, well after charges were filed.
"Without criminal intent and the requisite value requirement, the Commonwealth could not ethically proceed with the charges against the named individuals," the Commonwealth's Attorney Stephanie Morales said.
Greene's attorney, Plofchan, says his client is looking into all possible actions, including a lawsuit against the city for wrongful termination.
"I think that Chief Greene admirably performed her job and had a strong sense of her oath under the Constitution," said Plofchan. "And she worked very hard to not only personally uphold the statutes but instill that same obligation within the officers of her force."
Greene was appointed chief in 2019, according to the Portsmouth Police Department's website. Assistant Police Chief Scott Burke has taken over as interim chief, Woodson told CNN.
Portsmouth is about 10 minutes from Norfolk.