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Alabama city disbands police department and terminates chief, assistant chief after officer sends text message containing racist joke

The Alabama city of Vincent has disbanded its police department and fired its chief and assistant chief after an officer sent a text message containing a racist joke, AL.com reported.

Vincent officials confirmed the officer sent the text message, after which, the city council approved a resolution to terminate Police Chief James Srygley and Assistant Chief John L. Goss and disband the police department, the outlet added.

Mayor James Latimore confirmed that “we passed a resolution with intent to pass an ordinance to disband the police department,” AL.com said.

What did the joke say?

An individual identified as “752? texts the question, “What do y’all call a pregnant slave?”

An unidentified recipient responds twice. “?” and “??”

“752? replies: “BOGO Buy one, get one free.”

The text message surfaced on social media last week, AL.com reported:

Latimore on Tuesday said “appropriate action has been taken” against the officer alleged to have sent the text, AL.com reported, although the mayor wouldn’t name the officer or anyone involved.

While the outlet said Vincent’s website lists only three people in its police department — Srygley, Goss, and Lee Carden — a Monday check on the site listed nobody in the police department.

During the city council meeting Thursday evening, councilman Corey Abrams said the issue “has torn this community apart. It doesn’t matter what color we are as long as we do right by people,” AL.com reported.

Reached at his home after the meeting, Abrams declined to confirm the specifics of the action taken at the meeting but said “I’m still emotional about it,” the outlet reported.

During the meeting, Latimore announced he had suspended the chief and assistant chief, but the council instead decided to terminate the employees, AL.com reported.

Latimore said Carden turned in his resignation via text message just hours after the city council voted to dissolve the department, the Associated Press reported.

What will the city do with no police?

The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office on Friday announced it “stands with the City of Vincent in providing emergency law enforcement related services for the citizens [of Vincent] at this time,” AL.com said.

In a press release, the sheriff’s office added that “we equally condemn the actions” related to the Vincent police department’s alleged “misconduct.”

The AP said Vincent is located in central Alabama, southeast of Birmingham, in Shelby, St. Clair, and Talladega Counties — and has a population of just under 2,000 people.

Alabama assistant police chief accused of sending racist text message to officers

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