Portsmouth school board member vindicated after being charged with obstruction of justice

Image courtesy of WAVY

PORTSMOUTH, Va (WAVY) —  A Portsmouth judge dropped obstruction of justice charges against school board member Lakeesha Atkinson on Wednesday morning after prosecutors said they didn’t have enough evidence.

Atkison told WAVY.com, “The vindication is now but the defamation, the embarrassment that we had to deal with will always be there”

It’s been a tough several months for Atkinson, who has always maintained she did nothing wrong.

Police accused her of interfering with an investigation at the Harbor Square apartments in September.

Officers say they had detained two people in connection with a stolen car when Atkinson approached and asked how old they were.

Atkinson said, “I wanted to make sure that they were OK, that they knew the law, and if they didn’t I was willing to stand by them and help them.”

The school board member and activist told 10 On Your Side that she acted on parental instinct and would do it again, although she would use a different approach.

“I probably would pull one of the officers to the side and ask to talk to them.”

Officers say they told her to step back three times. They arrested her several days later.

In a statement to 10 On Your Side, Commonwealth Attorney Stephanie Morales said:

As prosecutors, our duty to seek justice applies not only to seeking to convict the guilty, but ensuring that the innocent go free. In every case, no matter the defendant or the charge, we review the facts, the applicable sections of the Virginia Code, and relevant case law to determine whether prosecution is appropriate.
In this case, a thorough review led us to the conclusion that the evidence against Ms. Atkinson was insufficient.”

A short time after that revelation was made in court, Atkinson told WAVY.com, “I was shocked and happy at the same time …me and my attorney were ready to fight.”

There’s no comment yet from police or word on whether they will now release body camera footage of the incident.

Atkinson would like to bury the hatchet.

“It’s a hard job to be a police officer, it’s not easy, so if we can work together from this and start a new relationship then I’m open to do that.”

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