After racist text, Ala. town fires police chief, disbands PD
"This has torn this community apart," one city council member said during an emotional meeting
By Roy S. Johnson
VINCENT, Ala. — Just days after city officials confirmed a text message containing a racist joke sent by a Vincent police officer, the city council approved a resolution to proceed with the termination of Police Chief James Srygley and Assistant chief John L. Goss and to disband the police department, Mayor James Latimore confirmed.
“We passed a resolution with intent to pass an ordinance to disband the police department,” Latimore said.
The council’s moves were taken during an emotional city council meeting Thursday evening.
On Friday, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office announced it ‘stands with the City of Vincent in providing emergency law enforcement related service to the citizens [of Vincent] at this time.”
In a release, the Sheriff’s office said “we equally condemn the actions” of the two officers.
City Councilman Corey Abrams, reached at his home following the meeting, declined to confirm the specifics of the action taken, but said: “I’m still emotional about it.”
In the message, which surfaced on social media this week, someone identified as “752″ texts: “What do y’all call a pregnant slave?”
An unidentified recipient responds twice. “?” and “??”
“752″ answers: “BOGO Buy one, get one free.”
During the council meeting, Abrams, who represents District 5, said: “This has torn this community apart. It doesn’t matter what color we are as long as we do right by people.”
On Tuesday, Latimore said “appropriate action has been taken” against the officer alleged to have sent the text, though at the time he would not name the officer or anyone involved.
The City of Vincent’s website lists only three people in its police department: Srygley, Goss, and Lee Carden.
During the meeting, Latimore announced he had suspended the chief and assistant chief, but the council moved instead to terminate the employees.