Earlier this week, news surfaced that the election of an African-American mayor had had prompted police officers in Parma, Missouri to resign in protest.
Today's news from Kinloch, Missouri is much, much more disturbing.
Betty McCray was not only prevented from entering city hall, she was also told she’d been impeached before she got a chance to start.
McCray ran for mayor in the April 7 election and won.
“I won. The people spoke,” McCray said. “I was sworn in by the St. Louis County. Today I take office. I want them out, I want the keys.”
After the election results were certified earlier this week by the St. Louis County Board of Elections, Kinloch’s outgoing administration refused to allow the city clerk to give McCray the oath of office, claiming voter fraud.
“Today is the first day that that the city hall door has been unlocked. They keep it locked,” McCray said. “You got to beat and you got to bang (to get in). They have an officer police sitting right at the door.”
One of the hallmarks of our democracy has been the ability to honor election results and peacefully transfer power to the newly-elected administration, whether it be mayor or president. This really cannot stand.
On Thursday, McCray was ready to start on the job, but was met with strong resistance. Fox 2 was there with McCray when she showed up at city hall, where she was greeted by more than 20 Kinloch police officers.
One officer attempted to prevent himself from being filmed by pushing a camera away. No one was being allowed inside city hall, including the elected mayor.
Kinloch city attorney James Robinson informed McCray she had been impeached. However, the city refused to tell the new mayor the articles of impeachment.
“You have been served with articles of impeachment that were put in the mail,” said attorney James Robinson.
This is not how democracy works. This is how corrupt, vile police behave, but it is not how democracy works. I really hope McCray has good lawyers, and that the Department of Justice opens an investigation right now.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Kinloch is a small suburb between Ferguson and the St. Louis airport. It once had as many as 10,000 residents, but now it's dwindled down to the hundreds. McCray was elected with 38 votes to incumbent mayor Darren Small's 18.
During the past five years, the city has seen the imprisonment of a former mayor on federal fraud and theft charges, the hiring of a convicted felon as city manager, the selling of a previous city hall building to an alleged drug dealer and the unseating of at least two aldermen.
Now there are fresh allegations of voter fraud.
On April 7, McCray defeated Mayor Darren Small with 38 votes to his 18. Another candidate, Theda Wilson, received two votes. Petty ran unopposed. After the Board of Aldermen declined to swear them in, the two were sworn in by a St. Louis County circuit court clerk on Tuesday.
Let's make this a national story. If this doesn't stop here and now, it will forever damage this country. Trends begin locally, after all.
Watch the video, via Fox 2 News:
Update: There are serious questions to be asked here. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch article, voter fraud was alleged because there had been evictions from city-owned apartments. Still, the results were certified. But if the city of Kinloch owns those apartments, then they're likely supporting their city operations (including the 20 police officers for a population of 299 people) from the rents they're receiving. Who wants to bet some of those rent dollars come from HUD?
What about cities receiving extra funds for their police departments from the federal government? Would that explain how they have one officer for every 6 residents?
This story is not about race as much as it is corruption and abuse of power, which makes me redouble my belief that the DOJ and other federal agencies need to come in here and investigate.