Most Of Police Force Quits After Black Woman Elected Mayor

Photo: Courtesy of KFVS.
Employees of one small Missouri town had an extreme reaction when residents elected their first Black female mayor: 80% of the police department quit, along with the city clerk and two other staffers. And, according to the New York Times, no one seems to wants to guess, or even speculate about, the real reason for the mass exodus.

Tyrus Byrd, a former Parma, MO city council member, was sworn into office as mayor last week, but she will have to deal with a police force with only one person. Five of the town's six police officers submitted letters of resignation last week, citing only "safety concerns," according to news station KFVS

No one has been more specific about what "safety concerns" or "trust issues" would make a town's public safety officers quit en masse, but Byrd has said she is still determined to clean up the city. To make the mass resignations even more suspicious, KFVS also reported that when Byrd started her first day, the officers' resignation letters could not be found, and that computers had been wiped clean.

According to one of the police officers who quit, he felt that Byrd's father was too involved in police investigations while he was an alderman, which made him worry about the new mayor's plans for the department.

Byrd won a close election against longtime Mayor Randall Ramsey, who held the office for 37 years. The population of Parma is slightly more than 700 people, and Byrd won by less than 40 votes. The city attorney, clerk, and waste water treatment supervisor also resigned with the police officers. 

This post has been updated. It was originally published on April 20th.

Correction: A headline on an earlier version of this post on Facebook mistakenly stated that the entire police force had resigned — it was 80%. We apologize for the error.
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