Following the horrific death of James Byrd in Jasper, Texas, in 1998, the city tried its best to remake its public image. However, according to the Washington Post, the racist environment that allowed for Byrd to be dragged two miles to his gory end may have reappeared, as the city's black police chief, Rodney Pearson, has been relieved of his duties by a now all-white city council.
But this week, the town's first black police chief was fired by the City Council, capping what the chief's lawyer says is a “smear campaign” fueled by long-standing racial animosity.
On Monday, 16 months after he was hired by a black majority on the City Council, Police Chief Rodney Pearson was ousted during a tense council meeting. The council, which now has a white majority, voted 4 to 1 to terminate Pearson.
“This is racism at its finest,'' council member Alton Scott, the lone dissenter and only black council member, told a reporter for the Beaumont Enterprise.