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Lawrence Jones on growing police resignations in wake of unrest
Fox News contributor Lawrence Jones weighs in on police chiefs who have recently stepped down amid nationwide unrest on ‘Fox & Friends.’
Police chiefs throughout the country have either resigned or accelerated their retirements since the killing of George Floyd, which was followed by calls for police reform coupled with growing animosity and distrust of law enforcement.
The May 25 death of Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed his knee into Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes, ignited a wave of nationwide protests that have sometimes turned violent. Among the demands from activists and some elected officials are greater accountability for law enforcement and the defunding of police departments.
The most recent departure came Tuesday when U. Renee Hall, the first Black woman to lead the Dallas Police Department, resigned. The announcement came shortly after inconsistencies were found in the department's after-action report detailing the first few nights of protests over Floyd's death.
Below is a list of cities where police chiefs have stepped down in the midst of a reckoning over race and police practices.
Hall's resignation also coincided with the departure of Rochester police Chief La'Ron Singletary, who has drawn scrutiny over his handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude. Criticized by activists and Mayor Lovely Warren, Singletary said his actions were being mischaracterized.
Warren publically accused Singletary of misleading her about the circumstances of Prude's death. Officers put a spit hood over Prude during the March 23 encounter and allegedly pressed his head onto the pavement.
Rochester Police Chief La’Ron Singletary, right, stands with Reverend Lewis W. Stewart, left, of the United Christian Leadership Ministry before a community meeting in Rochester, N.Y.. Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2020, that the city’s police chief is among those retiring, along with other senior commanders, amid criticism of the city’s handling of the suffocation death of Daniel Prude. (AP Photo/Adrian Kraus)
Prude died a week later after being taken off life support.
Singletary and two other members of the department's senior command resigned Wednesday as protests continue in the city.
Lake City, S.C.
The chief of the Lake City Police Department submitted his resignation last week. Kipp Coker has been chief since January 2017 and was with the Clarendon County Sheriff's Office prior to taking the position, SCNow.com reported.
The reason for his departure was not given.
Marion police Chief Tony Flowers resigned Aug. 27 to pursue other opportunities outside law enforcement, WBTW-TV reported. He was hired in July 2018 and has served as interim chief before becoming the city's top cop.
Pamplico police Chief Danny Brown left the department Aug. 21, citing personal reasons for his departure after two years on the job.
"I really enjoyed it. The two years here has been great," he said, according to WPDE-TV. "Seen a lot of development from the community. A lot of support from the citizens here. Small town, but in the right root for growing."
Cobden, Ill., Police Chief B.J. Hale left late last month “due to some issues with how he and some former officers have been treated,” according to a department Facebook post. No specifics were given.
He is now working for the Missouri State Highway Patrol, KFVS-TV reported.
Carmen Best announced she was leaving her post last month after city leaders voted to reduce her budget amid pressure from local activists. Best, 55, officially stepped down last week after the City Council approved sweeping proposals to slash the police budget by $4 million and cut as many as 100 officers.
Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best announces her resignation at a press conference at Seattle City Hall on Aug. 11 in Seattle, Washington. Her departure comes after months of protests against police brutality and votes by the City Council to defund her department by 14%. (Photo by Karen Ducey/Getty Images)
"I believe 100% that they were putting me in a position destined to fail. Cutting a police department that already had low staffing numbers, that was already struggling to keep up with the demand," Best told NPR. "How are we going to provide for adequate public safety in that environment?"
Steve Anderson, chief of the Nashville Metro Police Department, abruptly left Aug. 6 after the mayor's office announced that it would be his last day. Reasons for him stepping down were not given but Anderson drew criticism from elected officials and activists during his tenure, The Tennessean reported.
Critics said he was opposed to change and has come under fire from elected leaders.
He previously announced his retirement in June shortly after leaders approved increased funding for the police department.
He initially planned to retire in the fall.
Former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales was demoted in August over his department's response protesters advocating police reform. He was less than a year into his four-year term when the city's Fire and Police Commission reduced his rank, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
He was previously ordered to explain why police officers used tear gas during periods of unrest, along with explaining investigations and providing updates on hiring and promotions.
Morales chose to retire instead of staying with the department.
Las Cruces, N.M.
Las Cruces police Chief Patrick Gallagher planned to retire in December but left the force Aug. 1. His two-year tenure saw eight fatal police encounters, the Las Cruces Sun News reported.
One such incident involved the Feb. 29 death of a man who was put into a chokehold. The death was ruled a homicide and the officer was fired and criminally charged with involuntary manslaughter.
The department has since banned chokeholds.
Rising Star, Texas
Chief Wayne Edgin was asked by city leaders to step down in July after they were informed by Eastland County District Attorney Russ Thomason that his office would no longer accept cases from the city's top cop.
"A police officer who cannot file cases with the district attorney's office cannot effectively do his duty," Mayor Jim Carpenter said in a statement posted to Facebook.
The city, nor Thomason, explained why his office would not accept cases filed by Edgin.
Los Angeles school police Chief Todd Chamberlain resigned July 1 after Los Angles Unified School District board members approved a measure to slash the police budget by $25 million.
He said the cuts put him in a "position that makes my ability to effectively, professionally and safely impact those groups unachievable."
The board also called for officers to give up their uniforms and patrol off-campus. Chamberlain had only been on the job a few months.
Jefferson City, Texas
A series of Facebook posts some deemed insensitive to a Black Lives Matter protest were Jefferson City Police Chief Jason Carroll's undoing.
Several residents complained about the social media posts, which were deleted. One appeared to show a pacifier with a caption that read: "America's Newest Monument."
Carroll called it quits during a special Jefferson City Council meeting to address the complaints, the Longview News-Journal reported.
Prince George’s County, Md.
Prince George’s County police Chief Hank Stawinski stepped down June 18 after the American Civil Liberties Union released a 94-page report detailing allegations of discrimination and retaliation within the department.
Prince George’s County police chief, Hank Stawinski is seen during a press conference on distracted and impaired driving last year. (Photo by Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images)
Officers suing the department allege it was biased against Black and Hispanic employees, The Washington Post reported.
A lawsuit filed by officers prior to the release of the report said disciplinary measures against officers of color were harsh than their White colleagues and that those who complain about biased treatment are often demoted.
Police Chief William Smith abruptly resigned in mid-June at the request of Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney. The request came after several nights of protests during which police officers deployed pepper spray and rubber bullets at demonstrators.
“He has served this city with grace but we are ready to move it in a new direction,” Stoney said at the time. “I have high expectations of the Richmond Police Department. And at a minimum I expect them to be willing to come around the table with the community to reform and reimagine public safety.”
William “Jody” Blackwell was ousted as interim chief less than two weeks after replacing Smith. Details about a police shooting involving Blackwell emerged after he took office but it was not clear if that was the reason he stepped down.
Stoney eventually selected Gerald Smith, deputy police chief in Charlotte-Mecklenburg County, North Carolina, as the city new top cop.
Police Chief Erika Shields stepped down June 13, two weeks after drawing national praise for how she engaged with protesters marching against police brutality. That changed when an officer fatally shot Rayshard Brooks, 27, after a struggle during a sobriety test.
She resigned less than 24 hours after Brooks was killed. The killing angered protesters, who set fire to the Wendy's fast food restaurant near where Brooks died.
Former Atlanta Chief of Police Erika Shields during the Security Press Conference during Super Bowl LIII week on January 30, 2019 at the Georgia World Congress Center. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
The Atlanta Police Department was also scrutinized when several officers were caught on video dragging two college students out of a car in a traffic jam caused by demonstrations.
Shields openly questioned the criminal charges leveled on six officers by local prosecutors.
Portland Police Chief Jami Resch stepped down June 8 as the city became the site of massive protests spurred by Floyd's death that are still ongoing. The departure came less than six months into her tenure.
Former Portland Police Chief Jami Resch.
She was criticized by community members for the lack of diversity in the Portland Police Bureau's command staff, which were all White men.
Chuck Lovell, a Black lieutenant on the force, replaced her.
Metro police Chief Steve Conrad was fired June 1 after Mayor Greg Fischer said that officers involved in a fatal shooting did not have their body cameras on.
Former Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad speaks during the 2016 Kentuckiana Pride Festival on June 17, 2016 in Louisville.. (Photo by Stephen J. Cohen/Getty Images)
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"This type of institutional failure will not be tolerated," said Fischer.
Louisville police officers and National Guard soldiers opened fire and killed David McAtee, the owner of a popular barbecue restaurant after officials said someone shot at officers from a parking lot, the Louisville Courier Journal reported.
Conrad faced also increasing pressure after the March fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor. Taylor was killed while sleeping during a "no-knock" warrant execution by narcotics officers. One officer was fired for "blindly" firing 10 rounds into her apartment.
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