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Chief Says She Was Fired For ‘Upholding The Law,’ Plans To Fight For Her Job

Portsmouth, VA – City officials fired Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene on Monday without giving her a reason, but the now-former chief said she planned to fight back.

“I believe I was wrongfully terminated for upholding the law, and [I’m] being retaliated against for sticking to my sworn oath; that I swore to serve and protect my citizens, community, and keeping my officers safe ” Chief Greene told reporters and supporters at a press conference in front of City Hall on Nov. 16.

“Twenty years… hard work. I never thought it would have ended this way,” she said.

Chief Green’s termination came just a little more than two months after she was suspended by then-Portsmouth City Manager Lydia Pettis Patton, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

The incident that sparked the controversy between the city leadership and the popular police chief who took the helm at the department in March of 2019, began after a violent protest at the city’s Confederate monument on June 10.

City leaders had postponed yet another a vote on whether to move the monument and protesters gathered for a rally around it and began spray-painting the historic monument, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Later in the evening, protesters beheaded four statues of soldiers on the monument.

One of the heads fell and landed on somebody, seriously injuring him, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Then-Chief Greene infuriated city leadership in August when she brought charges against 14 of the people involved in the riot, including Virginia State Senator Louise Lucas, several National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) leaders, multiple public defenders, and a school board member.

All 14 people were charged with felony injury to a monument, and eight of them were also charged with conspiracy, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

Five more protesters were charged later.

But a few days later, Pettis Patton sent an email to the city council that said Portsmouth police were dropping the charges because of a conflict of interest, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

The now-former city manager never explained what the conflict of interest was.

But the attorney for former Chief Greene, Thomas K. Plofchan, Jr., said that no conflict of interest existed, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

“She is unfortunately the victim of political infighting,” Plofchan said. “She was a neutral employee hired to faithfully execute the laws, and when she did so, political powers that be bristled at that.”

Pettis Patton also announced on Sept. 4 that she had placed Chief Greene on administrative leave pending an investigation into her personnel file, The Virginian-Pilot reported.

No information about that investigation was released.

And then on Monday morning, a judge dismissed the charges against everyone from the June protest and Interim Portsmouth City Manager LaVoris Pace handed Chief Greene her walking papers, WAVY reported.

“I was terminated and I am one less badge and one less gun,” the chief told reporters when she left the meeting with Pace.

She said that the city manager had handed her a resignation letter but hadn’t given her any explanation for her termination other than that she was an “at-will” employee, WAVY reported.

The now-former police chief, who has children and cares for an elderly parent, said the city didn’t give her any severance pay.

She told reporters that she wanted her job back and she planned to file a wrongful termination lawsuit against the city to get it, WAVY reported.

“I believe what would be fair is full reinstatement, because I did nothing wrong. That would be fair, that would be my first option,” the angry veteran law enforcement officer said.

Portsmouth Police Captain Steve Hassell, the head of the Portsmouth Chaplains’ Unit, said that the former police chief has a lot of support from inside the department, WAVY reported.

“I’ve been involved with the police department 44 years. I have served under 13 chiefs, and by far, Chief Greene is the best chief Portsmouth has ever had,” Capt. Hassell said.

Written by
Sandy Malone

Managing Editor - Twitter/@SandyMalone_ - Prior to joining The Police Tribune, Sandy wrote the Politics.Net column for the Wall Street Journal and was managing editor of Campaigns & Elections magazine. More recently, she was an internationally-syndicated columnist for Conde Nast (BRIDES), The Huffington Post, and Monsters and Critics. Sandy is married to a retired police captain and former SWAT commander.

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Written by Sandy Malone

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