Tyrus Byrd swearing in as the first African American female mayor of Parma Missouri is being overshadowed by unusual police behavior
Rather than celebrating this momentous occasion, controversy is stirring as several police officials handed in their letters of resignation prior to newly elected Mayor Tyrus Byrd’s swearing in. Not only did five of Parma’s six cops resign without giving notice, the city’s clerk and attorney also resigned and cited “safety concerns” as their motives.
Byrd said little about the resignations except for the fact that she was unable to find the resignation letters and that her focus lies in rehabilitating the town. She also expressed her confusion to the St.Louis Post-Dispatch,”I don’t understand…I never said anything about cleaning house.” Byrd calmly maintained composure amongst the chaos in her town as she spoke to KFVS,
“Moving forward, I’ll speak with the board and we’ll talk and discuss those issues that [have] taken place today and we’ll try to get things in order for the city.”
Many residents of the 740-person town favored the resignations as the city has a history of police corruption and look forward to Byrd’s reign as mayor.
One of the officers who resigned yesterday, former assistant police chief Rich Medley, told the Post-Dispatch,”Rather than put my life in danger more than I do now on a daily basis, I decided to walk away” and felt threatened by Byrd’s election into office. Medley mentioned that prior to Byrd’s swearing in he had negative interactions with her relatives. Allegedly one of the part time police officials used a stun-gun on Byrd’s cousin, Shatekia Thatch’s, son. Apparently the young man was unresponsive as the police official approached him regarding prank phone calls being made to the police station and allegedly used the stun-gun before arresting him. The irony of the situation is that Byrd ran for mayor as a response to the tension and complaints regarding Parma police and African American residents. Whether the race relations in the town will be alleviated post-election is yet to be determined, but hopefully a new police force is what Parma, Missouri needs.