Aug 20, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Alabama city disbands entire police department over racist texts

Photo by Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

An Alabama city council voted to disband its police department after police officers sent racist text messages, Vincent Mayor James Latimer said, per

Why it matters: It's the latest incident in a reckoning between law enforcement officers and their treatment of Black people.

  • A Mississippi town was sued over an alleged pattern of discrimination against Black people. The town's former police chief was recorded bragging about having shot and killed 13 people in the line of duty while using the n-word repeatedly.

Details: In Alabama, the Vincent City Council voted unanimously to “temporarily abolish” its police department Thursday night because the town cannot legally fire its officers, Latimer said.

  • Two formal complaints and a verbal warning must be given before a city employee — like a police officer — can be terminated.
  • Latimer added that the messages were not the only reason to disband the police department.

Flashback: Racist text messages from one of the city’s three police officers were posted online earlier this year, in which the sender made a joke involving slavery and pregnant women.

  • The officers involved were placed on administrative leave, but the city did not have the authority to fire those officers, Latimer said.

What's next: Latimer said the city plans to contract dedicated police services with the Shelby County Sheriff’s Office for the next year.

  • The town will reestablish its police force in the future, he said.
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