Parole Board chair sues Richmond TV station, journalist

Portsmouth

RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WAVY) — The chair of the Virginia Parole Board has filed a defamation lawsuit against a Richmond TV station and one of its reporters over some of the outlet’s coverage of an ongoing controversy involving the board.

Court records show board chair Tonya Chapman filed the $7 million lawsuit on Friday against WTVR-TV and reporter Jon Burkett.

The lawsuit seeks $5 million in compensatory damages and $2 million in punitive damages, plus other expenses.

Burkett referred a request for comment to the station’s news director, who said the station does not comment on legal matters.

Chapman is the former police chief of the Portsmouth Police Department.

She resigned in March 2019 after three years with the department.

In an interview with 10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox, Chapman said she was forced to resign because some well-connected police officers in the department had lost confidence in her.

In her letter to the citizens of Portsmouth she emailed out on March 25, 2019, Chapman wrote about the external strife that existed between the police department and the community. She said she had “never witnessed the degree of bias and acts of systemic racism, discriminatory practices, and abuse of authority in all of her 30-year career in law enforcement.”

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