5 of Missouri Town’s 6 Cops Resign After Black Mayor is Sworn In


The new mayor of tiny Parma has a rebuilding job on her hands after most of the southeastern Missouri town’s employees celebrated her election by quitting their jobs.

Tyus Byrd, 40, was sworn in April 14 and immediately had to deal with the resignation of five of six police officers, including the chief. The city attorney, city clerk and wastewater treatment manager also said goodbye to the town of 700 people, all citing “safety concerns.”

A stunned Byrd told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch she had no idea what those concerns were.

“I don’t understand,” Byrd told the newspaper. “I never said anything about cleaning house. … Am I the safety concern?”

The Post-Dispatch cites an incident about a month before the April 7 election. A white, part-time officer investigating prank phone calls to the police department used a stun gun on a black teen — a relative of Byrd’s — who had declined to discuss the case. There was a mild protest, but it died down.

Rich Medley, who quit as assistant chief, told the Post-Dispatch that officers had run-ins with many of Byrd’s relatives.

Byrd, who is black, defeated Randall Ramsey, a 78-year-old white man who has served 36 years as mayor, including the last 24. It didn’t take many votes to win — the final tally was 122-84. Still, that was a high turnout for the town, which is about 60% white, 40% black.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: USA Today, John Bacon

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