COVINGTON, Tenn. (WMC) - Two Covington Assistant Police Chiefs near retirement were suddenly demoted to positions they could have gotten a couple of years after graduating high school.
Some citizens are calling the move discrimination.
"32 years of service to this city and I ask why you doing what you doing to Covington,” said one citizen during public comment.
Tense moments during Tuesday’s packed mayor and Board of Aldermen meeting in Covington. The public is upset after positions were eliminated leading to the demotion of two long serving police officers.
During public comment citizens called for a boycott.
Chief Larry Lindsey was sworn in as the city’s new police chief Aug. 30th, within a few days he restructured what he called a top heavy department eliminating the two assistant police chief positions.
And then moving the two men that held the positions, officers Cavat Bass and Allen Wilson, to patrolmen positions.
“The decision I made was for the best interest of the city of Covington," said chief Lindsey.
The local NAACP says demoting the two officers near retirement is age and racial discrimination.
Officer Wilson is White. Officer Bass is Black and broke a number of racial barriers in the city according to a source with direct knowledge of the situation. Bass was the first black lieutenant and assistant police chief.
"Normally in business what you would do is move each person down one position throughout the force,” said John Edwards who attended Tuesday’s meeting.
I asked why the officers were not demoted to lieutenant or sergeant.
“It was just my decision. My choice,” said Lindsey.
Lindsey says he appreciated what everyone had to say, but he’s sticking with his decision.
He says having two assistant police chiefs was too confusing over who to report to.
Mayor Justin Hanson says per the employee handbook the police chief has a right to structure his department as he sees fit. His opinion was backed by the city attorney during the meeting.