Mississippi police chief is fired after racist recording leaks
A Mississippi police chief has been fired after being taped with racist and homophobic comments and bragging about how many people he had killed.
Sam Dobbins was chief of police in Lexington, Mississippi, the board of aldermen chose to remove him on Wednesday after the recording surfaced, to which Dobbins says, “I shot that bastard 19 times.”
Dobbins was recorded in a conversation with Robert Lee Hooker, a former Lexington police officer who resigned last week after complaining about a toxic work environment.
Hooker, who is black, is heard of hurtful comments Dobbins made in Hooker’s presence, though Dobbins appears to have no regrets.
Sam Dobbins was fired as police chief of Lexington, Mississippi after a former police officer recorded spewing racist and homophobic statements
Robert Lee Hooker rejoined the Lexington Police Department to answer to after experiencing a toxic work environment there. He filmed Police Chief Dobbins bragging about killing people and making racist remarks, eventually getting him fired
“Well, if you’re apologizing after I apologized back then, you’re barking at the wrong tree,” Dobbins said on a recording obtained by the Mississippi Center for Investigative Reporting.
“If a few words are going to bother you, this might not be the place for you,” he continued. “I didn’t mean anything personal when I said what I said.”
On the recording, Dobbins says he made the comment to silence Hooker, saying, “I’m just trying to shut you up.”
Hooker continues to explain why he was hurt by the comment, which eventually prompts an apology from Dobbins, but not before trying to apologize to Hooker as well.
‘Do you regret? You ran away from me yesterday,” Dobbins asked Hooker, and Hooker replied that he was leaving because he was upset.
Hooker left the police force just days after he originally joined because of the comments made, but rejoined the police force to answer.
Dobbins claimed he would be the only person to protect Hooker ‘on the street’, saying ‘one man will fight for you. I will be. Don’t ruin that.
He then admits to killing 13 people while working as a police officer, claiming that each murder was “justified” and that he “did hard.”
Dobbins then brags about his alleged achievements as an officer, saying he “saved 67 children in a school” from a black man.
“I shot that bastard 119 times,” he said. “The vehicle was hit 319 times, but it was hit by me 119 times.”
When Dobbins was approached by MCIR about the recording, he said he was not aware of it.
When he casually mentioned people he’d killed, Dobbins said this was “something we don’t talk about, period.” He also denied using the defamation, saying he “don’t talk like that.”
Under Mississippi law, a conversation may be recorded without the consent of other participants.
Although the recording ultimately doomed Dobbins’ police career in the city, the vote to fire him was passed by only one vote after two board members voted against the motion to fire him.
The Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party said on Wednesday it has repeatedly asked elected officials to address “police misconduct and abuse of power.”
In the Facebook post, the party said it “had spoken to Mayor Robin McCrory in person on several occasions about the illegal and unethical conduct and addressed the Mayor and the Board of Aldermen at their regular meeting.”
“It is shameful and appalling that this situation has come to this point because of the inaction of elected officials,” they continued.
Cardell Wright, chairman of the party, held a press conference after the vote on the board of directors and told the Daily Beast that Dobbins has had a “tense” relationship with the black community since taking office in 2021.
Although the city is small with a population of about 2,000, Wright said that 80% of the city’s residents are black.
He says Dobbins had a “problem” with the black community and they quickly began reporting harassment, abuse and mass arrests of activists.
Hooker said he decided to get the recording because he’s “just got to the point where you don’t do people good, you don’t do good.”
“Let me expose you for what you are, who you are,” he continued, according to WLBT.
Wright confirmed that Hooker is “relieved to have been able to do his part to stand up for the black community in Lexington.”