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Georgia city removes police chief, officer for racist comments uncovered in body camera footage

A Georgia city removed its police chief and an officer last week after they made racist comments that were uncovered in body camera footage. 

Gene Allmond, the police chief in Hamilton, Ga., resigned Monday and patrolman John Brooks was fired on Tuesday after city officials learned of the video recorded ahead of a Black Lives Matter protest in June, a city official confirmed to The New York Times on Sunday.

Mayor Julie Brown told television station WRBL that the city removed the officers “because we don’t want that kind of ugliness here in Hamilton.” 

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The footage, released by television station WTVM, showed the two outside of the department discussing slavery and Brooks using a racial slur and making lewd comments about Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance BottomsKeisha Lance BottomsAtlanta mayor issues order to expand ballot access Chelsea Clinton gets her own podcast Biden: Georgia law is 'Jim Crow in the 21st century' MORE (D) and Stacey Abrams, the former Democratic 2018 gubernatorial candidate.  

In the six minute video, Allmond said, “They furnished them a house to live in, they furnished them clothes to put on their back, they furnished them food to put on their table, and all they had to do” was work.

Buddy Walker, an assistant to Brown, told the Times that Brooks was attempting to show the chief how the body cameras worked.

“I’m not sure if he was stupid enough — obviously he was stupid enough — not to know it was still working and that he still had it on,” Walker said. “The words just rolled out of their mouths. There was no hesitation.”

A city worker found the body camera footage last Monday while investigating why police said the body cameras weren’t working and discovering their storage was full. The employee notified Walker, who watched the video before calling the mayor and City Council members to gather that night.

“Everybody knew what had to be done,” he told the Times. “It was not one of our proudest days.”

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Brooks had offered to resign but failed to turn in his equipment on time, resulting in his termination, he said. 

Mayor Pro Tempore Ransom Farley, who is Black, said that he had to leave the room after viewing the footage, telling the Times, “It hurts when you think you know somebody and you don’t.”

Hamilton, a city of 2,000 people, is left with two part-time patrolmen in the police department, prompting the county sheriff and other local agencies to offer assistance. The city is searching for a replacement for Allmond.