Posted on November 9, 2021

Portsmouth Spends $150k to Settle With 10 Charged With Confederate Monument Destruction

Brett Hall, WAVY, November 6, 2021

The City of Portsmouth is paying out thousands of dollars to 10 people who claim their rights were violated when they were arrested in connection with the vandalism and destruction of the city’s Confederate monument in 2020.

The checks for $15,000 each were cut on Oct. 20 and 21, according to copies obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. Among those who received one included Portsmouth Judge Brenda Spry, school board Vice-Chair LaKeesha Atkinson, and James Boyd, president of the Portsmouth chapter of the NAACP.

Spry, Atkinson, Boyd and the seven others were all charged in August 2020 with felonies after they participated in the demonstration at the Portsmouth Confederate monument on June 10, 2020, during which the historic structure was painted, damaged and a man was nearly killed.

Body camera video as well as videos on social media show several of the individuals trespassing on the monument and spray painting it.

While the charges were all eventually dropped, attorneys argue their clients are due payment for being “improperly defamed” when there was “no credible evidence to support the charges.”


In a letter from attorney Michael Massie, who represented everyone except Spry, he wrote that his clients’ “reputation and character … were severely damaged.” {snip}

He demanded $100,000 for each of his clients and Spry’s attorney demanded $150,000.


The settlements come on top of the already $250,000 spent to remove the damaged monument. It currently remains unrepaired in storage.