Leader of Group Wants Police Chief to Resign
Earlier this week, the leader of the local Black Lives Matter group called for the resignation of Police Chief Wade Gourley and an immediate meeting with Mayor David Holt.
Her news conference was held following the weekend’s protests that turned violent.
The group’s leader appeared to blame the police chief and the mayor for police response to protestors who were charged with vandalism and attacking police officers.
“We demand an apology from Chief Wade Gourley and Mayor David Holt,” T. Sheri Dickerson told reporters at the news conference, “and we demand the immediate resignation of Chief Gourley.”
She said the police chief had shown “a lack of leadership, and that resulted in aggressive actions by police toward peaceful protesters, escalating tensions and resulting in violence that could have been avoided.”
Asked if the police department had any response to Miss Dickerson’s demand, a spokesman answered, “No.”
City Manager Craig Freeman said he had the utmost confidence in Chief Gourley.
“I am not asking Chief Gourley to resign,” City Manager Freeman said Monday evening, “and I’m thankful for his leadership in these challenging times.”
Mayor Holt said he planned to meet with the group after Tuesday’s City Council meeting., and said he would “defer to their wishes” regarding whether a public statement will be made after the meeting.
On Tuesday, the police chief made a statement expressing his outrage over the death of George Floyd and criticized the conduct of officers who have been charged in the death.
He made no mention of the demand for his resignation.
Black Lives Matters condemned property damage committed during the protests.
The group said the damage was not committed by the group or its supporters, and they spent much of Monday helping clean up parts of the city.
The group also told “white actors” they were hurting the message of Black protesters, while using Black issues for their own means.
Other demands include the immediate release, without charges, of all jailed protesters who were arrested on nonviolent offenses or “resisting arrest” while “defending themselves or their loved ones from unlawful use of excessive force” by police and the sheriff’s department.
Black Lives Matter also called for disciplinary action and termination for all police officers who “violently attacked peaceful protesters.”