As primary elections for congressional seats get underway, a Republican candidate for Congressman Gerry Connolly’s seat is refuting allegations made against him.
Allegations of improprieties during Candidate Matthew Chappell’s law enforcement career in Georgia were made in an April 29 Atlanta Journal Constitution (AJC) article shared with the Fairfax County Times.
One allegation consisted of social media posts he had already been warned about, according to documents provided by the George Peace Officer Standards and Training Council (P.O.S.T.).
According to their website, Georgia P.O.S.T. Council administers the regulatory process, sets the standards for training and certification, and provides essential technical assistance to the law enforcement community. They recommended his certifications be revoked July 11, 2019 and they were revoked September 11 of that year.
The document also said that while on duty Chappell, “was requesting sexual acts from a female officer of another law enforcement unit,” and that he “was texting her through a social media platform asking the female officer if she would have sex with him and his wife.” The unnamed female officer screen shot the messages and reported him. He was then terminated for violating policy on social media and “requesting sexual acts while on duty,” according to the document.
In an April 30 statement posted to Twitter, Chappell called the allegations in the AJC article “false claims by a tabloid bought and paid for by leftists.” When questioned by Fairfax County Times Tuesday about whether he stood by his statement, Chappell responded, “Yes, I stand by my statement. The allegations are false. End of story. I’ll defer further questions to my attorney.”
Chappell claimed in his statement that the current Glynn County Police Chief Jacques Battiste offered to send his employment file to the county’s legal team for an independent review before the AJC article was released.
Neither the Glynn County Police Department nor the McIntosh County Sherriff’s Office responded to questions.
According to a report provided by the Georgia P.O.S.T. Council, Chappell worked for several law enforcement agencies in Georgia including the Camden County Sheriff’s Office where he resigned his position in November 2015. The next month he took a position with the Glynn County Police Department and resigned in September 2016 while under investigation. He received a public reprimand in July 2017 and was placed on probation for 24 months. In June 2018 he took a position with the McIntosh County Sheriff’s Office and was terminated in January 2019.
The Fairfax GOP takes the accusations very seriously, according to Chairman Steve Knotts. “This is a very fluid story, that unfortunately materialized very close to Saturday’s primary election,” he said. “All citizens deserve courtesy professionalism and respect from law enforcement officers.”
Since Chappell denies the allegations and apparently never faced any criminal prosecution, Knotts said that they will remain neutral as a committee on this issue and trust district voters to evaluate the candidates to decide who will face Connolly in November.