Columbus councilor gives reasoning for recent police chief’s severance package

“I took this role to make the hard decisions.”
Published: Apr. 11, 2023 at 11:17 PM EDT
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COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) - One Columbus City Councilor is sounding off and giving insight into why councilors deemed it necessary to force Columbus’ top cop into retirement. District Four City Councilor, Toyia Tucker, couldn’t say too much about Columbus Police Chief Freddie Blackmon and his severance package for legal reasons, but she could say why he got it and how we got here.

For Columbus City Councilor Toyia Tucker, offering Police Chief Freddie Blackmon a severance Package and forcing him to retire was a hard decision for city council, but she believes it was the right one. The chief has said before it is because he is black. Tucker refutes that claim, but for Columbus NAACP President and Local Journalist Wane Hailes, he’s with the chief.

“I took this role to make the hard decisions.”, said Tucker.

Hailes said, “Stevie Wonder could see that it’s racial. It is what it is, and we need to stop acting like it’s not.”

In February, city councilors asked the police chief to present a strategic plan. He came back a month later with his plan, addressing issues brought up in an assessment of the department by an outside company, but Tucker said something was missing.

“We did not address the leadership issues.”, said Tucker. “If I was in that position, if I was the one that was causing the ship to sink, I would take a Jonah moment. Jonah knew that the seas were rough, but it was because of him because he was running away from something that he was supposed to do but when we threw Jonah off the ship, the seas calmed.”

Tucker, along with other councilors in predominantly black districts, has faced backlash for how the situation has played out, at the forefront is Hailes.

“In some of those districts, their people were not represented correctly. With councilor Cogle. Did she sit down and talk with the people in District 7. I talked with a lot of folks in district 7. They haven’t even heard from her. I don’t think that happened in District 4.”, said Hailes.

Hailes previously announced he’ll run against Tucker next year for her council seat. Now he says it’s up in the air. So far, no paperwork has been filed announcing candidacy.

When asked if she was concerned about being reelected in 2024, she replied, “Am I worried? No! Will I be hitting the streets? Yes! I been hitting the streets.”

Watch the full interviews below: