In 2019, City Manager Lydia Pettis Patton forced out Chapman, who’d been police chief for three years. In a letter addressed to Portsmouth residents at the time, Chapman said she was forced out for trying to tackle systemic racial and gender inequities in the force. Pettis Patton still hasn’t responded to those allegations or given a detailed reason for the ouster, to the frustration of the city’s Black elected officials. Meanwhile, their white peers, including Mayor John Rowe, declined to say what they thought of the forced resignation, citing the city charter now being used to call for Lucas-Burke’s ouster.
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