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This Alabama town has decided to disband its police department after leaking racist messages


Lawmakers in the town of Vincent, home to some 20,000 people, decided to clamp down after racist text messages came to light and sparked community outcry.

By David K. Li -

NBC News

Lawmakers in a small Alabama town decided to fire their police chief and disband the entire department after officers shared a racist joke over text messages.

The Vincent City Council, which represents nearly 2,000 people about 35 miles east of Birmingham, voted unanimously to begin the process of ending the city's police services and hiring the County Sheriff's Office. Shelby County.

"I've given this a lot of thought.

It's not a decision I've come to easily,"

Mayor James Latimer said at Thursday's council meeting ahead of votes to fire the police chief, his assistant and disband the department. .

Experior image of the Vincent County Police Department, Alabama.NBC News

"As you all know, I have always wanted us to have the best possible police department. I believe that

in light of recent events, it is no longer possible, at least at this time, for us to continue their services."

Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego said he supported the move.

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"The Shelby County Sheriff's Office was recently notified by the Vincent City Council and the Mayor regarding recent allegations of misconduct within the Police Department and we equally condemn these actions," the Sheriff's Office said in a statement. a statement on Friday.

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“Sheriff John Samaniego stands with the City of Vincent in providing emergency law enforcement-related services for citizens during this time,” he said.

NBC News, sister network of Noticias Telemundo, tried unsuccessfully to contact Police Chief James Srygley for comment.

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Deputy Chief John Goss hung up the phone when contacted and did not immediately return voicemails and an email.

Latimer, who works as a police officer in another city, said Friday that he informed Srygley and Goss of the council's decision.

The mayor refused to comment on the reactions they had.

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"I know the community is hurting right now," Latimer said Friday.

“I appreciate your patience and understanding as we go through the process of trying to recover.

It is a stressful time for all of us.

It's kind of heartbreaking."

The racist comment shared in the text did not surprise Vincent residents, said Kenneth Dukes, president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People in Shelby, who takes credit for the public pressure that led to the council's decision.

"This has happened before, police have shown this type of attitude and behavior in the past," Dukes said Friday.

"Many citizens were fed up and joined en masse."

Source: telemundo

All news articles on 2022-08-06

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