Last Wednesday, Former Lexington Police Department Chief Sam Dobbins was fired due to leaked recordings of conversations loaded with racist and homophobic language. He was fired in a 3-2 vote by the city’s board of aldermen.
“I Don’t Talk Like That”
Last Wednesday, Former Lexington Police Department Chief Sam Dobbins was fired when the city’s board of aldermen voted to oust him in a session that lasted more than an hour, WLBT and USA Today reported. The vote was 3-2 to fire Dobbins.
The vote was put in place when former officer Robert Lee Hooker leaked recordings of a conversation he had with the chief in April and then gave the secret audio to JULIAN, a civil rights and international human rights organization, which released it to the media.
This enraged the small city of 1,600 about 60 miles north of Jackson, with about 80 of the nearly 1,300 citizens being Black, census data shows.
Charles Henderson, who is Black and the newly appointed interim police chief, spoke to USA TODAY in an interview Friday, saying that the language used by his predecessor in the recording,
“is something typically that I wouldn’t use and that I wouldn’t want anybody employed with under my administration to use.”
Dobbins could be heard proudly bragging that he had shot and killed 13 people in the line of duty, including a Black man who he claimed he shot 119 times.
He had also said that he would smash suspects through a window if they “got out of line.” Dobbins, who was white, was also heard using racist and homophobic slurs as he claims he would defend Hooker on the job.
When he was contacted by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting for any comments, the former officials denied that he had used slurs and bragged about the number of people he’d shot or killed.
“I don’t talk like that,” he said to the outlet.
Hooker, who is Black, joined the department this year. He had then resigned merely days after due to a verbal fight with Dobbins, as Cardell Wright said, a JULIAN paralegal told USA TODAY.
Hooker rejoined the department sometime later but was frustrated with the leadership. Still, before he resigned for a second time, he took to secretly recorded a conversation with the chief, Wright said.
“I just got to the point where you’re not doing the people right, you’re not doing right, so, therefore, let me expose you for what you are, who you are,” Hooker told WLBT.
Jill Collen Jefferson, the founder and president of JULIAN, said the recording is “a really significant and serious breach of trust with the community” and was likely “indicative of a culture and attitude that entire force has.”
Furthermore, Wright said they have called for the department to be dissolved and investigated for any potential constitutional violations by the department.
Mayor Robin McCrory did not respond to requests for comments and said he was not aware of any complaints of racial discrimination against Dobbins.
Interim police chief Henderson has said his new administration will have zero tolerance for racism.
“We’re trying to move forward,” Henderson said. “That’s not going to depict the way the Lexington Police Department is…we’re not a part of any type of racist activity.”
Police Department Caught Using Images Of Black Men As Targets For Shooting Practice
A group of boy scouts discovered that a police department outside of Detroit uses images of Black men as shooting practice targets as reported by Vice News.
The troop had spotted the targets, with some of them pierced with bullet holes, when the troop toured the headquarters of Farmington Hills Police Department in April.
From a photo in the tour, six white scouts were looking at the targets, featuring an image of a Black man with a menacing look and pointing a gun—while a Black boy scout stood behind them.