Protester left in a coma from falling Confederate statue in Virginia

Photo: WVEC
Published: Jun. 11, 2020 at 11:44 AM EDT
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As protesters in one Virginia city tore down parts of a Confederate monument Wednesday night, part of the falling statue fell on to a protester, who has been left in a coma.

, protesters gathered around Portsmouth's Confederate monument on the night of June 10.

Chanting "No Justice, No Peace," people used bolt cutters, hammers, and other objects to chip away at the monument. Muskets and swords held by the statue's figures were ripped away.

Portsmouth police were on scene, but they did not step in to stop the protesters, similar to the situation as


The heads of the four soldiers surrounding the Portsmouth monument were cut off.

But according to WVEC, the celebratory mood of the crowd came to an abrupt halt shortly after 9 p.m., when one of the statues was torn down and fell on a protester.

On Thursday, Black Lives Matter 757, the group that organized the demonstration Wednesday night, tweeted that the man who was hurt was Chris Greene. The group linked to a GoFundMe page set up to help Greene's family with expenses.

At the point of the injury, police moved in to secure the area with crime scene tape as medics took Greene away on a stretcher. They asked that the remaining protesters leave. After kneeling in prayer for Greene, they left.

Mayor John Rowe said police didn’t intervene earlier because that could have escalated the situation.

Portsmouth City Council held an emergency meeting earlier in the day on Wednesday and decided on a July 28 hearing to decide on the monument's fate, but that was too far into the future for the demonstrators who gathered Wednesday night.

The monument has sat near the intersection of Court Street and High Street in Olde Towne since it was built in the late 1800s.

The monument is one of multiple targeted for vandalism and removal by protesters over the past two weeks, including

in just a few days.

Virginia State Police said they will conduct the investigation into the injury incident, per the request of the Portsmouth Police Department. Portsmouth police are handling all other investigations.

The Commonwealth Attorney’s Office for the city of Portsmouth will determine if any charges will be filed.

James Boyd, the Portsmouth NAACP chapter president, said that “people are just tired of being sick and tired” and that the monument represents more than 400 years of oppression.