A white woman has been charged with filing a false police report after she claimed a black couple assaulted her on the street, authorities said Wednesday.
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Gladys Townsend, 63, told police in Virginia she was attacked Tuesday and said she didn't know who her assailants were, but gave a description of a black man and woman, and their car.
Powhatan County Chief Deputy Jeff Searfoss said police determined there was no assault and Townsend later confessed to lying.
“We take all allegations of false police reports seriously because of the burden imposed on the sheriff’s office in the way of resources expended to investigate the false claim, but also on the potential harm that a false report can cause a citizen who may be wrongly accused and or arrested,” Deputy Commonwealth’s Attorney Robert Cerullo said in an email, according to reports by the Richmond-Times Dispatch.
“These concerns were compounded in this situation by the heinousness of the allegation; behavior like this cannot be tolerated.”
Lying to law enforcement or filing a false report is considered a Class 1 misdemeanor according to Virginia law, and is punishable by both heavy fines and jail time.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.