Eutaw police and citizens upset after mayor fires officers without warning

EUTAW, Ala. (WIAT) -- The Mayor of Eutaw recently fired three city police officers, and many in the Greene County community are up in arms.

Eutaw resident Robert Clayton is one of the officers that was terminated, and he says that he is outraged.

"I'm very upset about it," Clayton said. "We were sitting the office talking to the chief about our assignments, and one of the councilmen came in and told us we need to go to see the mayor.  When I went in, she gave me a termination letter."

Clayton told CBS42 News that he was fired for conduct unbecoming an officer and filing a false police report; charges that he denies.

On Tuesday afternoon, Mayor Hattie Edwards decided to place the three officers on paid leave. Clayton believes that her actions are confusing and don't make sense.

Clayton believes that Mayor Hattie Edwards has a personal grudge against him and the other officers. The Mayor lost her run-off election last week to former Mayor Raymond Steel.

Eutaw resident Chanel Glenn is the wife of another officer that was fired, and she believes the Mayor doesn't like her husband. Glenn says it's not the first time she has tried to fire an officer.

"She is like a dictator, she is not doing this with diplomacy in mind," Glenn said. "She is causing a ripple and making people go up against each other instead of bringing a community together. That's not what a mayor is supposed to do."

Glenn is also concerned not having enough officers on the street creates a safety factor in the community.

"It is very concerning, because we have a lot of senior citizens here and their houses are being broken into left and right," Glenn said. "Plus we have shootings, so it is concerning."

The Eutaw Police department has only six full-time officers and one part-time. Greene County District Attorney Greg Griggers calls the mayor's actions highly inappropriate. He says he's never heard of a mayor with hire and fire power authority without input from the police chief.

WIAT reached out to Mayor Edwards, but she did not want to comment.

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