Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coleman Ousts Chief of Police E. St. Louis Manager Also Fires Assistant

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Coleman Ousts Chief of Police E. St. Louis Manager Also Fires Assistant

Article excerpt

Isadore Chambers, the police chief in East St. Louis, and his assistant, Pleas Griffin, were forced out of their jobs Thursday by the new city manager.

Chambers alleged that City Manager Lee Coleman wanted Chambers to engage in "questionable and unreasonable acts."

Coleman replied, "That's absolutely false." Coleman has been city manager for two weeks; he was acting manager for two months. Chambers said that he and Griffin were called to Coleman's office Thursday and told to report for duty today as sergeants, with sharp pay cuts, or leave the force. Chambers says that Coleman did not follow procedures and that he will fight the firing. He gave a letter to Mayor Gordon Bush announcing his intention and leveling accusations of interference against Coleman. Chambers' letter said Coleman had asked him to "turn over records and files that would be in violation of the privacy act and to equip and furnish him with a fully equipped police vehicle, even though he was not a sworn police officer in the state of Illinois." In an interview, Chambers said Coleman, as assistant city manager last year, had asked for confidential files on internal investigations. Chambers says Coleman was doing it at the bidding of Councilwoman Karen Cason. Chambers also said that recently, he was asked by the city manager to find a job for Officer Leland Cherry, who is now on administrative leave and under indictment. He was indicted on charges of "double-dipping" by holding a city police job and another one with the state. Tearfully, Chambers said in the interview: "It is wrong. This man (Coleman) thinks he's a dictator." Chambers said, "What did I do that was so wrong that I deserve - after being chief for 8 1/2 years, the longest tenure of any black chief in the city - to be done like this?" Chambers has been with the force about 24 years. Griffin has served for 23 years. Griffin says he's "angry. I don't know the reason we were removed . . . but I'm going to get an explanation." Coleman, the city manager, said he wanted a change of direction in the Police Department. He said he was upset by bad press concerning police brutality cases involving East St. …

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