This Entire Department Resigned After A Black Woman Became Town Manager

front of kenly town hall in north carolina
Zain Murdock
August 18, 2022

On June 2, 2022, Justine Jones received unanimous council approval to become Kenly, North Carolina’s town manager. But there was one other group who didn’t approve: Kenly’s police department. 

And they made a big statement to show it.

Less than two months later, citing a “toxic” and “hostile” work environment, the ENTIRE department resigned. Chief Josh Gibson declared he’d think about returning if Jones were fired.

“They don’t want to be led by anybody Black; that’s Kenly,” said Black resident Cynthia Kirby. Kenly is 36% Black, and its entire police department was white. “They’re always harassing Black people. It’s racial.” 

But is there even more to the story?

In 2021, a civil lawsuit accused Kenly police of REFUSING to report their previous town manager, a Black man, for sexual assault. One lieutenant attempted to file the report, then was fired. So would Jones, known for previously suing a county for gender AND race discrimination, have been a threat? 

Were their resignations about what Jones did, or what Kenly police were no longer allowed to do?

Police aren't here to keep us safe. If they were, they wouldn't abandon their jobs the moment they are challenged. We can’t make individuals hold themselves accountable, nor can we change a system that was designed to be rotten from the beginning. Good riddance!

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