Published: June 17, 2020, 1:42 p.m. CDT
By BOB PALMER
Jimplecute News Editor
JEFFERSON – During the public comments period prior to Tuesday’s Jefferson City Council meeting, some speakers called for the dismissal of Police Chief Jason Carroll for what they saw as a racially insensitive Facebook post, while others defended the chief and his department.
Another commentator used his three minutes to call for the removal of the Confederate statue on the Courthouse grounds.
“I feel like we cannot trust (Carroll),” Shyger Williams told the council. “We live in a small town that keeps getting divided by social media.”
Antonio McNeil called on aldermen to remove Carroll “immediately because of his borderline hateful views on social media.”
Gary Carroll, Chief Carroll’s father, assured the council that his son growing up in a military family living around the world did not “see colors. He saw people.”
Former Chief Gary Amburn said that neither Carroll nor his department were racist. Amburn suggested that the council should perhaps censure Carroll but not fire him for the post.
The controversy apparently hinged on a Facebook post where Carroll posted the image of a baby’s pacifier and a “snowflake” comment that was perceived as a derogatory comment about Black Lives Matter protesters in Jefferson Saturday.
Carroll told the Jimp Wednesday that his post was not aimed at the marchers or the Black Lives Matter protesters, but at people “whining about fake news” and griping politicians.
“That post had nothing to do with racism,” Carroll said. “It had nothing to do with the marches and the monument at all.”
Asked if the divide between Carroll and Jefferson’s African American community was beyond repair, Carroll quickly said, “I don’t know what to say to that. I don’t think it is beyond repair.”
Carroll issued an apology which will be published as a Letter to the Editor in the June 18 edition of the Jimp.
Mack Jordan reminded the council of the racist creed of the Confederacy in the words of the secession movement’s vice president, Alexander Stephens, who proclaimed the black man as inferior to the white man.
“That statue was erected in memory of those who fought for those same beliefs,” Jordan said. “We would like to see that statue taken down and removed to the graveyard because it is for the fallen soldiers.”
State law and council rules do not permit aldermen to respond or take action on presentations during the public comment period.
Car Show Set
Councilmen voted to allow the first outdoor event since the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown. The Outlaw National Car Show was approved for the weekend of July 10.
“It is a tough decision,” Stan Davis, who brought the request, said.
The council also approved purchase of new computers and software for JPD from Kologik and Peace Maker at a total cost of $82,700.
Carroll explained the purchase will be reimbursed from a Cares Act Federal Funding Grant relating to the pandemic. Jefferson has been approved for up to $112,000 in grant money.
Kona Ice was approved to deliver shaved ice to Jefferson residences.
Annual resolutions relating to employee health insurance and retirement were adopted.
Spier 3 Environmental was chosen to provide archaeological services for the upcoming flood control project.
Bob can be reached at Bob@Jimplecute1848.com.
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