State Sen. Amanda Chase struggles to move past altercation with police officer

By Keya Vakil
June 3, 2019

State Sen. Amanda Chase (R-Chesterfield) is struggling to deal with the fallout from her argument with a Capitol Police officer back in March.

Chase, a staunch conservative, initially denied that she got into an altercation with Capitol Police Officer Ashley Berryman, saying that reports that she cursed at Berryman and called the Senate clerk “Miss Piggy” were untrue.

But as backlash grew, Chase eventually admitted during a radio interview with WRVA that she did “drop the F-bomb,” and apologized for losing her cool, though not without saying Berryman was “rude and dismissive.”

Things got worse for Chase on May 10, when a report from the Richmond Times-Dispatch revealed that Chase used the Capitol Police for transportation so often during session that the Police Chief asked House and Senate clerks to remind legislators that this was against protocol.

Chase told the Dispatch that she didn’t know it was against protocol, but the scandal has still hurt her standing with the law enforcement community.

Chesterfield Sheriff Karl Leonard withdrew his support for her and called on a Republican Board of Supervisors to do the same, according to the Chesterfield Observer.

Chase, who was elected in 2016, is an outspoken conservative who has frequently clashed with her own party. That tension has only increased in the wake of the controversy, with Sen. Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-James City) chiding her and apologizing to the Capitol Police for her behavior.

Chase’s district is deeply Republican, so it’s unlikely that the controversy will hurt her too much in this year’s election, where she will face off against the winner of the Democratic primary between Amanda Pohl and Wayne Powell.

Regardless, with all 40 state Senate seats up for grabs and Republicans holding a slim 21-19 edge in the chamber, whichever Democrat wins is likely to campaign on the controversy in the hopes that it will help deliver a Democratic majority.

  • Keya Vakil

    Keya Vakil is the deputy political editor at COURIER. He previously worked as a researcher in the film industry and dabbled in the political world.

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