MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - The arrest of a Selma city councilman on a charge of public lewdness for allegedly urinating in public has prompted calls for the resignation of the city's police chief, according to statements made Thursday by members of SOS, the Save OurSelves Movement for Justice and Democracy.
SOS members, including Alabama state Rep. Hank Sanders and his wife, Faye Rose Toure, held a news conference at the Alabama Statehouse to discuss the incidents surrounding the arrest of Councilman Samuel Randolph on May 11.
Despite cries for Collier to resign, Mayor Dario Melton has spoken words of support for Chief Collier.
Melton says he supports Collier wholeheartedly, and says Collier will not resign. Melton says under Collier's leadership in a year-and-a-half, the police force has grown from 38 officers to 51. Melton also says arrest rates are up and murder rates are down.
"We say no to corruption. Shame on Alabama state Senator Hank Sanders for calling a press conference on facts he doesn't have," said Selma Mayor Darrio Melton.
They say Randolph's arrest "appears to be a made-up situation" and called it "indicative of the broader problem of police brutality."
SOS says Randolph's arrest on a lewdness charge came after he was outspoken with Mayor Darrio Melton during a city council meeting and claim Police Chief Spencer Collier, who is white, tried to intimidate the black councilman into being silent by putting his hand on his gun.
Toure said after Collier publicly announced a pending charge against Randolph, she and a former state representative Yusef Salaam went with him to the police station to turn himself in. She said they were initially told there was no warrant, but after waiting, they decided to leave. That's when they were stopped and informed there was a warrant.
"In my 46 years of law practice, I have never seen a warrant that did not state a date, time, or place that a violation supposedly occurred," Toure said. "Furthermore there was not an incident report with any of this vital information."
Collier says the incident at the city council meeting happened on Sept. 12 when he was approached afterward by several police officers and city employees.
"They informed me that Councilman Sam Randolph physically threatened a staff member employed in the Office of the Mayor," Collier said.
The chief said he spoke with both the victim and Randolph and that the councilman asked if he could apologize to avoid criminal charges. An apology was made, Collier said, though he added a statute allowed for a warrant to still be signed at any time for a year. No charge has been filed over that incident.
Collier also provided incident reports involving Randolph for the April 1 urination incident that resulted in his May 11 arrest, as well as other previous reports over the last six months that did not result in charges but which showed interactions between Randolph and law enforcement.
Collier says Randolph was the focus of a criminal mischief complaint on Feb. 6 in which he's alleged to have knocked a hole in a wall at Selma City Hall. Charges weren't filed after he agreed to pay for the damage, but the next day he returned to film city employees and disrupt their duties, the chief said. He was not charged with harassment because he agreed to leave.
Prior to his arrest, Collier said it did not appear that avoiding possible criminal charges several times in recent months had humbled the city councilman.
The charge of public lewdness is a misdemeanor. Randolph later turned himself in and was released on bond.
In addition to demanding Collier's resignation, SOS wants the charges against Randolph dropped and an investigation conducted into racial profiling in Selma.