No need to defund the police in small-town Kenly, North Carolina. The entire police department quit after a Black woman, Justine Jones, was hired as city manager. At least some cited a "hostile" work environment in their resignation letters as the reason for the mass exodus, according to CNN, while Police Chief Josh Gibson griped on social media that Jones wrote him up a few times and was "targeting" him.
Jones, who worked in local government for 16 years, was hired on June 2, unanimously supported by Kenly's city council.
Now, without a police force, "public safety and race relations" are being debated in the town of 1,500.
Brittney Hinnant, a Kenly resident, said she feels like the situation is a "race issue" given that Jones is Black, while the entire Kenly Police Department is White. Hinnant also said she doesn't think the police department supports Black people and she feels they often harass Black residents.
"I feel like they don't want a Black woman over top of them, basically managing them or telling them what to do," Hinnant said. …
Jones told CNN that since this is a personnel matter, she can't comment on the police resignations.
And other residents cautioned against jumping to conclusions, saying they've always had a good relationship with the police department. …
Michelle Dawes, who's from Kenly and used to work for the town, told CNN that she thought the situation was complicated. She said it's possible that race and gender played a role in the resignations, but issues of accountability are really at the center of the situation. …
"I immediately knew, this is someone new. She doesn't know what, I call them, the 'off the books rules' are. Basically, when she came and got hired, she poked the bear by making him accountable."