JASPER - Jasper City Council has voted to fire Police Chief Rodney Pearson during a contentious meeting Monday night, according to KFDM reporter Megan Dillard, who covered the meeting.
The agenda for Monday night's meeting called for council to evaluate Pearson. Prior to entering executive session, council questioned Pearson about how many days of vacation he'd taken and other issues. Mayor Mike Lout said Pearson wasn't authorized to take the four vacation days.
Council went into executive session and emerged shortly after 9 p.m., at which time council, voted 4-1 to terminate Pearson.
Only Councilman Alton Scott voted against terminating Pearson.
"This is racism at its finest," Scott said.
Pearson was the first African-American police chief in Jasper. Council hired him in April 2011.
The Bernsen law firm is representing Pearson.
Cade Bernsen sent a statement on behalf of Pearson to KFDM:
"After serving more than 20 years in law enforcement for the State of Texas, Chief Pearson and his family are extremely hurt and disappointed by the actions of the Mayor and Council. Chief Pearson has taken great pride in serving and protecting the citizens of this State. Today is a sad day for Jasper, this area, and the State of Texas."
Elections in May put several new people on the City Council. They replaced council members who support Pearson.
Pearson says during his tenure the department has done a good job of fighting crime and patrolling the community.
Members of council Monday night questioned and criticized his job performance.
Council was scheduled to evalulate the City Manager. Council plans to do so next month.
Tuesday afternoon council is scheduled to discuss and possibly vote on an interim chief.
KFDM News covered the meeting. Stay with KFDM and kfdm.com for updates.