The city of Vincent, Alabama no longer has a police department following a racist text message scandal. The text message sent by an unidentified sender asked, “What do y’all call a pregnant slave?” A recipient identified as “752” was bewildered by the question and responded with a series of question remarks. The sender then wrote, “BOGO Buy one, get one free.”
Black residents make up about 12 percent of the small town’s population of 2,000 people. According to WVTM news, the message was shared between at least two of the city’s police officers. As a result of the incident, the department’s Police Chief James Srygley and Assistant Chief John L. Goss were both dismissed from their duties. During a city council meeting on Thursday (Aug. 4), a vote was held to disband the department.
Text of a raciest assistant police chief in Vincent, Alabama. Contact info with any questions is included below. pic.twitter.com/XRuI7tc0mt
— Film @ 11 (@NeedyFunding) August 6, 2022
“I have thought long and hard about this. It’s not a decision that I have come to very easily,” said Mayor James Latimer at a city council meeting Thursday (Aug. 4). “As all of you know, I’ve always wanted us to have the best police department possible. I think in light of recent events, it’s no longer possible, at least in this moment, for us to continue services of the police department,” he continued.
“This has torn this community apart. It doesn’t matter what color we are as long as we do right by people,” City Councilman Corey Abrams. NPR reports, the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office has since stepped in to provide emergency services to the community.
Kenneth Dukes, NAACP Shelby County branch president, said the city’s elected officials took swift action after outraged citizens demanded they do so. “This has happened before, they’ve had this kind of attitude and conduct that’s been displayed before,” Dukes told NBC News on Friday (Aug. 5). He added, “A lot of citizens were just fed up and came together in strong numbers.”