Jasper Police Chief Fired, Performance Criticized

Rodney Pearson was the town's first black chief of police

Tuesday, Jun 12, 2012  |  Updated 1:16 PM CDT
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Jasper Police Chief Fired, Performance Criticized

Flickr/Christopher Ebdon

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The first black police chief of an East Texas town made infamous for a 1998 hate crime dragging death has been fired over poor job performance.

The Jasper City Council on Monday night voted 4-1 to dismiss Chief Rodney Pearson, who was hired last year.

KFDM-TV reports council members questioned Pearson about how much vacation he's taken and other leadership issues.

City Councilman Alton Scott, who voted against firing Pearson, said the dismissal was "racism at its finest."

May elections put new members on the Jasper City Council, replacing some elected officials who backed Pearson. City council members planned to meet Tuesday afternoon and choose an interim police chief.

Three white men were convicted of the June 1998 slaying of James Byrd Jr. One was executed last year.

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