Virginia state Sen. Amanda Chase was fuming, posting on Facebook that the state’s largest newspaper smeared her in an article it based on a police report about her run-in with an officer that, according to her, even got the description of her car wrong.
“Neither the article or the report are accurate and I intend to take this up with my contacts at the Richmond Times dispatch (sic) and the Capitol Police,” Chase wrote. “Just for starters, I don’t drive a white Lexus.”But video of the incident, in which she profanely berated a police officer over a parking dispute, and records reviewed by the American Ledger suggested she does, indeed, drive a white — or at least light-colored — Lexus, adding to a growing list of lies and distortions the senator made about the encounter.
Chase, a Republican who is up for re-election in November, admitted this week that she lied to reporters that she didn’t swear at the officer but still believed she was owed an apology by police.
In a report about the March 22 incident, Capitol Police Officer Ashley Berryman described Chase as profane and belligerent, a characterization she initially denied but admitted Monday was accurate.
Berryman wrote that Chase approached a gate outside the Capitol in a white Lexus and demanded to be allowed to park near the building, citing safety concerns about parking in her usual spot. After Berryman said she couldn’t, Chase was incensed.
“I am not going to move unless you let the fucking barricades down to let me in,” Chase said, according to the report.
She told the Times-Dispatch she never swore at the officer, saying, she would “never use the kind of language” described, including a derogatory remark about the Senate clerk.
But Monday She changed her story, telling the newspaper: “Upon reflection, I do remember dropping the F-bomb. I think we see this a lot when people go through a stressful encounter. They reflect on things.”
It was just one of several aspects of the incident she got wrong.
She suggested Berryman was inexperienced by referring to her as a 22-year-old; Berryman is 31. She told a radio station her “fucking barricades” comment came after she was waiting 35 to 40 minutes; the entire episode only lasted 21 minutes.
Her claim that she didn’t “drive a white Lexus” is also questionable.
Surveillance footage of the incident published by the Times-Dispatch showed her driving a light-colored luxury car up to the Capitol gate. In 2017, Chase’s aide filed a police report about menacing posts on Facebook that included a photo of Chase’s car, a “Lexus with ‘33 Senator’ plates.”
Despite Chase’s false claims about the incident, she told WRVA-AM that Berryman still owed her an apology.
Chase also told the Times-Dispatch there was a racial component to the exchange.
Chase, who is white, said that Berryman, who is black, allowed a black legislative aide to proceed through the gate while keeping her there.
“I guess she thought I was white privilege. I was like, look I don’t want special treatment just because I have senator plates,” Chase said. “But I have parked here before.”
On Tuesday, she wrote on Facebook that she “got mad” because Berryman was “rude and dismissive.”
“At the end of the day, officers are here to ‘serve and protect.’ But on March 22, 2019, I didn’t feel this particular officer was ready to serve or protect,” she wrote.
Chase’s GOP colleagues were embarrassed by the episode and have written to the Capitol Police to say that they shared its “exasperation” and to apologize for the incident, according to the Times-Dispatch.
“I am truly sorry the Division has had to endure unsolicited and unwarranted media attention because of an interaction with a senator who is a member of our caucus,” Senate Republican Majority Leader Tommy Norment wrote to the police chief, Col. Anthony Pike.