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Vincent, Alabama, a small town southeast of Birmingham with a population of 2,000, has voted to disband its city’s police department after racist messages were discovered on a cell phone.
This comes after the texts surfaced on social media, which read:
From 752: “What do y’all call a pregnant slave?”
From 752: BOGO, Buy one, get one free
Police Chief James Srygley had earlier on Tuesday stated that his police department had “conducted an internal investigation” and had taken “appropriate disciplinary action.”
However, it was later discovered that Police Chief James Srygley and Assistant Chief John L. Goss of Vincent were the police officers directly involved in the racist text message exchange.
City Mayor James Latimore dismissed both the police chief and assistant. Shortly after, the city council voted to dissolve the department on Thursday.
“We passed a resolution with intent to pass an ordinance to disband the police department,” Mayor Latimore said.
During the meeting, council member Corey Abrams said, “This has torn this community apart. It doesn’t matter what color we are as long as we do right by people.”
As of Friday, the Shelby County Sheriff’s office is currently “providing emergency law enforcement related service to the citizens at this time.”
According to Vera.org, in the last three decades, the incarceration rate for Blacks has increased by 193 percent in Alabama. A Black person was incarcerated 2.8 times more often than a White person in 2017.
Due to Alabama’s failure to report comprehensive prison data disaggregated by race, the incarceration rates of other racial groups are not available.
This isn’t the first time police were caught exchaning racists messages. In Norman, Oklahoma in 2020, some of its police officers were reparamended for sharing racist imagery. Moreover, due to the revelation that they had ties to the Ku Klux Klan, three police officers in Fruitland Park, Florida were forced to resign in 2010. However, non of this police departments were disbanded by there city governments.