Columbus residents share opinions on police chief with city council

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 10:52 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - Another high-energy and emotion-filled evening in Columbus council chambers Tuesday night. Nearly a dozen people stood before Mayor Skip Henderson and city councilors to express both support and opposition to Police Chief Freddie Blackmon.

Out of the 12 people slated in the agenda to speak on the subject, eight people showed up - all in support of the chief.

The Columbus chapter of the NAACP President Wane Hailes kicked off the conversation, saying 48% of Columbus’s population is made up Black people, 38% White people and 8% Hispanic people.

“Obvious as the majority demographic in this community, we still get no respect,” said Hailes. “So people get ready because starting with the local elections in 2024, a change is going to come.”

Recently, Hailes announced to run for District 4′s city council seat next year against current Councilwoman Toyia Tucker in light of the controversy.

Theresa El-Amin speaking on the recent severance package offered to Blackmon, which consists of a 250-thousand dollar payout, seven years worth of insuranace among other benefits. If Blackmon accepts it, he would waive his right to sue the city.

“$250,000?” asked Theresa El-Amin. “Your initial offer? I say 2 million... 2 million...”

“I want him to get.. to make y’all fire him because 200k ain’t nothing,” said Nadine Moore. “He has four boys at home.... he has a wife... She needs to make him sue y’all and don’t be ringing no bell at me.”

Tuesday night, Peytanne McQuinn of Columbus attended a city council meeting for the first time, left with more questions than answers.

“As a White woman, there is not a lot of space for me to speak on racism,” said McQuinn. “It is a hard pill to swallow that it is based on racism just because we do have Countryman who is a Black gentleman as well. It’s hard to see Columbus Police Department employees going to Countryman to work and then calling it a race thing.”

“I want you to feel it from my heart councilman, my councilman, Jerry, I want you to feel it,” expressed Marvin Broadwater Sr. “Y’all have got to right this or we are in trouble. Period.

Mayor Henderson and the ten city council members were tight lipped on the severance package issue and the concerns expressed by those in support of Chief Freddie Blackmon.

None of the city leaders made any comments during the meeting.