Alabama City Council Disbands Police Department It Couldn’t Fire Over Racist Texts

August 19 (UPI) — Members of an Alabama city council voted on Thursday to “temporarily” disband its three-officer police department, which it was unable to fire after racist texts from one of the officers emerged.

Vincent City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that would temporarily abolish the department, which will come into effect next week, The Birmingham News reported.

Vincent is a small town of about 2,000 people located about 35 miles southeast of Birmingham.

The decision came after one of the officers allegedly sent a text message containing racist language and a joke involving slavery and pregnant women to a colleague in June. The officer has not been identified.

Vincent has been operating without any active police since an emergency city council meeting was held earlier this month and city leaders voted to suspend his police chief and deputy with pay, CNN reported. .

The third officer resigned that evening, and the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has provided emergency law enforcement response services to the city ever since.

Vincent City Council had also sought to fire the officers that day, but city attorney Bill Justice told them they could not because of a policy that requires two written complaints and a verbal warning before an employee can be terminated.

Mayor James Latimer was asked by a member of the public during a public comment game ahead of the vote whether officers could return to the city if the police department were ever recreated.

“Part of disbanding the police department solves that problem,” Latimer replied.

Latimer said yes when asked by AL.com if disbanding the police department was the only way to remove allegedly problematic officers.

“We can bring back the police department; we can go with Shelby County for a year and then bring back the police department once we’ve had time to interview people to find the right people to create positions” , Latimore said.

City Councilman Corey Abrams moved before the vote to add the word “temporarily” to the ordinance to give the city time to rebuild its personnel policy and build a new police department.

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