GALLAWAY, TN (abc24.com) - Residents of Gallaway, Tennessee are wondering what happened to their police department.
Two of Gallaway’s three officers were fired in the span of two days during the week of August 13, 2012.
All sorts of allegations were flying, but the two officers involved - one white, one black - both claimed the African American officer was the victim of discriminatory treatment.
One small example offered by the fired policemen was requiring the black officer to produce a doctor’s note after missing just a half day’s work, while the same was not required of his white partner.
It landed both on the unemployment line.
“That’s my partner and I wanted to stand up for him,” former Gallaway officer Brian Hubbard told abc24.com, “I guess I’m paying the price for it.”
The price was Hubbard’s job, same thing for Roderick Brown. That makes two-thirds of Gallaway’s police force fired in two days.
Both officers believe race played a part.
“I believe I was discriminated against,” Brown told abc24.com.
“I’ve seen it first hand,” said Hubbard, “I did not feel he was receiving the same treatment as me.”
Brown filed an EEOC complaint on Friday, August 11; Hubbard stood up for him.
“On Monday,” Hubbard said, “I came in and I was terminated.”
On Tuesday, August 14, so was Brown.
“Also today,” said Brown, “I filed a retaliation complaint.”
Gallaway City Manager Tammy Hightower did the firing. When abc24.com attempted to speak with her, she stated from behind closed doors, “I’m not doing any interviews right now.”
As of August 14, Gallaway’s police cars were locked behind a wire gate instead of patrolling the city streets, and reserved spots for squad cars at the police department sat empty.
That did not go over well with local residents.
“I don’t really like that,” said Pam Eads, “because I thought they did a fine job. I liked them, because whenever I called them they were there.”
But now they’re gone.
“We’re standing on moral grounds,” said Hubbard, “for the way Roderick was being treated. And then, as soon as we stood up for it, we were retaliated against.”
“She’s basically violated us in every manner she can possibly think of,” Brown told abc24.com.
“They could have kept them,” said Eads, “I don’t know why they didn’t. I don’t know what we’re going to do now, to be honest with you.”
Nobody connected with the city would talk with us. Mayor Dominic Beretta did say by phone the intent was to replace the two fired officers.
Both of them told us they plan to pursue the matter legally.
In the meantime, Fayette County Sheriff's deputies will pick up the slack patrolling Gallaway’s streets.