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City Council of Alabama votes to abolish police over racist texts

Mayor Vincent said that he cannot fire the officers who wrote racist text messages, so the city voted to disband their department.

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Two months after an officer texted a racist joke, the police force in one Alabama city has been temporarily disbanded.

Many people in Vincent, Alabama, a small city in Shelby County about 30 miles southeast of Birmingham, were appalled to see the racist exchange posted online at the end of last month.

One of the city’s three police officers (who has not yet been identified) wrote the message, which is an offensive joke about pregnant women and slavery.

The council held an emergency meeting on August 4 and unanimously voted to suspend the police chief and assistant police chief indefinitely and approve a resolution to fire them over the incident. The third officer quit before the others did.

In a statement made earlier this week, City Attorney Bill Justice argued that the officers could not be terminated in accordance with the city’s personnel policy, which states that a worker must first receive two written complaints and a verbal warning before being considered for termination.

After police officers in Vincent, Alabama sent racist text messages, city officials decided to dissolve the police force.

According to Al.com, the city council unanimously decided on Thursday to “temporarily abolish” the department.

At a public hearing that lasted two hours at Vincent Middle/High School, Mayor James Latimer said, “Based on our personnel policies, we cannot terminate them.”

And he added that disbanding the police force was “the only way” for the city to stop paying those officers.

Recently, Sheriff John Samaniego of Shelby County, Tennessee, issued a statement saying he “stands with the City of Vincent in providing emergency law enforcement related services for the citizens during this time.”

Samaniego added that “currently all law enforcement emergency calls for service within the City of Vincent” are being handled by the sheriff’s department.

There were some meeting-goers who backed the council’s choice.

Erica Kelley, a local resident, told WBRC-TV, “I think it will be a great change to bring in some police officers who are actually true on the oath they took to protect and serve everyone in the community.

However, some people have voiced concerns about the county sheriff’s office being their sole point of contact in an emergency.

Sesalie Weatherly, another local, pointed out that this could be a lengthy procedure.

She explained to WBRC-TV, “Some people are impatient and they want things to happen right then, and you can’t expect things to happen right then if you want them to be done the right way.” There is no substitute for patience.