Ala. town disbands police department over racist joke allegedly sent by assistant police chief

An Alabama town was left without local law enforcement after the police force was disbanded Thursday over an allegedly racist joke was said to have been sent between members.

On Thursday, the Vincent, Alabama City Council was forced to conduct an emergency meeting as concern spread throughout the community of racism within the ranks of their police department. The issue stemmed from a text message attributed to an unnamed officer that had become public and began to spread containing offensive content.

As documented by local resident Lois Garrett, the message from sender 752 asked, “What do y’all call a pregnant slave?”

The unspecified recipient replied “?” and “??” before 752 delivered the punchline, “BOGO Buy one, get one free.”

Garrett noted that, “I’m not one to believe everything that I hear BUT did one of Vincent police officers really say this.”

It is unclear who the suggested “Officer lemonal” is in the post as the Vincent Police Department had only listed three members, Police Chief James Srygley, Assistant Police Chief John L. Goss and Officer Lee Carden.

Srygley had initially reported that “appropriate disciplinary action has been taken” after an internal investigation, according to AL.com.

Apparently, that had not satisfied the residents of Vincent as an emergency council meeting was called after which a vote was cast leading to the dismissal of Srygley and Goss, as reported by WBRC.

Mayor James Latimore had confirmed the dismissal and it was later announced that the resignation of Carden had been accepted as well.

With no member of law enforcement remaining, the responsibilities of the disbanded police force were taken over by the county and Shelby County Sheriff John Samaniego released a statement on the matter Friday.

“The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office was recently notified by the Vincent City Council and Mayor regarding the recent allegations of misconduct within the Vincent Police Department and we equally condemn these actions,” the release stated. “Sheriff Samaniego stands with the City of Vincent in providing emergency law enforcement related services for the citizens during this time. All communication and correspondence relating to this matter should be directed to the City of Vincent, and not to the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office.”

The statement went on to specify, “The Shelby County Sheriff’s Office is currently handling all law enforcement emergency calls for service within the City of Vincent. If you have a law enforcement related emergency, please call 911.”

Local Robert Franklin expressed his concern about the move to WBRC saying, “People tend to care more if they know you and that’s one of the things…concerning to the people in this area. We would like to have our own officers that we know that care about our town and not just the job because they work for the county.”

Though not linked to racism, a North Carolina town was recently faced with the loss of their entire police force after law enforcement grew frustrated with Kenly, NC Town Manger Justine Jones for creating a “hostile” work environment leading all five members of what should have been an eight member police force to resign.

The city of Vincent is reportedly working on a long-term contract to procure a full-time deputy to oversee their law enforcement needs. The investigation into who sent the text message is ongoing.

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