Talks on Columbus police chief’s position continue in recent council meeting

Published: Mar. 28, 2023 at 10:36 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - On Tuesday, dozens of people filled city council chambers. Many of them had plenty to say concerning Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon and the recent severance package he was offered just one day after he presented the council with a strategic plan.

“They constructed his discharge on February 14. And there was nothing he could do and nothing he could say to change their mind,” said Theresa Al’Amin.

“What criteria are you using to determine fairness,” said Rev. Johnny Flakes, III of Fourth Street Missionary Baptist Church.

“NOBLE is willing to provide Chief Freddie Blackmon and his staff with any technical support willing to make that strategic plan presented to Mayor Henderson to implement it to the fullest,” said Eric Finch.

That’s the proposal that Finch and his organization offered to Blackmon and his police department. While Finch says the chief is a member of the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement, or NOBLE, he says the strategic plan given to the council this month is enough to move the department in the right direction.

“We are totally aware of issues which are happening here in Columbus, Georgia. The strategic plan was submitted to Mayor Henderson,. We humbly ask that the plan submitted by Chief Blackmon and his staff be implemented before any decision is made in regards to Chief Blackmon and the office of Chief of Police,” said Finch.

“Here we are today, with you making a decision for us, about one of us, without us,” said Wane Hailes representing NAACP.

“You gave the impression that the chief rose to the occasion, and he would be given what you asked for. You cobbled up enough votes to oust him and offer him a severance package as a bandaid,” said Rev. Michael Powell with Asbury UMC.

The council has taken no action, and it is unclear what will happen regarding the chief and his position. However, he has until April 5 to accept the severance package.