Alabama Town Disbands Police Force After Racist Text Message Surfaces
from the racists-in-Alabama???-oh-my-word dept
Were you ever so terrible at your job that your entire place of employment was put out of business?
Let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that none of you are that inept or unprofessional. But it only takes one bad apple to result in the tossing of the whole bunch, provided that the barrel of law enforcement apples is small enough.
Vincent, Alabama (until recently) was home to a small police force. One officer, who has yet to be named, sent out a text message pretty much everyone (including the overseers of the town of 2,000) found to be racist.
If you can’t read/see the image, here’s a direct quote of the text exchange between Vincent police officers:
What do y’all call a pregnant slave?
Buy one, get one free.
The bare minimum of accountability was performed by the head of the police department.
“Appropriate disciplinary action has been taken” against a Vincent police officer who sent a text message containing a racist joke, said Police Chief James Srygley.
LOL NO, said Vincent city officials. This is bad. And this is worse than something that can be handled by nothing more than a statement claiming some sort of discipline has been deployed by the police chief.
Nope. Something more drastic needed to be done. And kudos to Vincent officials for doing it. The Vincent Police Department is no longer, as The Guardian reports. The small scale scandal managed to ensnare two-thirds of the police department. One of those apparently involved in the text message exchange was Chief Srygley.
[O]n Thursday, Srygley himself was identified as one of the officers who was terminated.
It appears Chief Srygley was not speaking about himself in his original statement. Another officer, the assistant police chief, was also terminated. All that was left was a single, now-unsupervised officer.
It was at that point, city leaders decided to pull the trigger. It voted to disband the department.
Good call. Even in a three-person department, leaders need to be leaders. And even if this seems far less racist than other incidents involving officers in larger departments, the fact is it apparently involved the small department’s two most senior officers.
Ignoring this in favor of keeping a small PD intact would have sent the message that officers are free to act reprehensibly provided they work for agencies that can’t afford to lose them. But calling the whole thing off sends the opposite — and far more correct — message: no one, no matter how essential to day-to-day government business is exempt from accountability.