By LIAM STACK
“As with any organization, there were officers in the department that did not like my style of leadership and did not want me to hold them accountable for their actions,” she wrote. “Some quite frankly did not like taking direction from an African-American female.”
Ms. Chapman said her tenure as police chief came to an abrupt end because her opponents on the force appeared to have succeeded in influencing the city manager, L. Pettis Patton. The city manager, whom Ms. Chapman described in her statement as “a mentor and a mother figure to me,” did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment on Monday.
The former chief said she was summoned last week to Dr. Patton’s office, where the city manager read her a written statement that said she had lost the confidence of the Police Department. Ms. Chapman said the city manager then threatened to fire her if she did not resign, which would allow her to collect two months of severance pay.
“Citizens of Portsmouth, I ask you,” Ms. Chapman wrote, “if I had done anything to warrant my immediate dismissal, would I have been offered a severance?”
Dana Woodson, a spokeswoman for the City of Portsmouth, said on Monday: “We will not be providing any information. This is a personnel matter.”
The Police Association of Virginia declined to comment on Ms. Chapman on Monday, and the Southern States Police Benevolent Association did not respond to messages seeking comment.
Dana G. Schrad, the executive director of the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and Foundation, said the organization does not comment on the personnel matters of individual police departments.
“All I can say is this,” she wrote in an email. “The public’s demands on police professionals, and especially the chief of police, are extraordinary, and we are disappointed to hear of Chief Chapman’s departure from the Portsmouth Police Department.”