This is CLEARLY false and many black residents have stepped forward to speak out against the claims that Pearson was fired because he was black, and to demand that these liberal media outlets correct the false and misleading information in their stories.
When Pearson was fired I wrote an article predicting that the race card would be pulled and I sure was right.
Below is a breakdown of some of the lies and misleading information that these liberal media outlets have spewed:
1) These media outlets try to make it appear as though only whites were against the hiring if Black Police Chief Rodney Pearson when in reality there were MANY vocal black residents who were against the hiring of Pearson and who supported the recall of the black Council members for hiring Pearson based on race and not qualifications. These liberal news outlets purposely did not interview the black residents who were for the firing of Pearson and for the recall of the Council members because that would not fit into their story of racism.
One Jasper resident who I interviewed over the phone, Michael Larkin, is a black local businessman and he opposed Pearson as Police Chief. Larkin was even physically threatened and had his business threatened by a small group of black pastors and supporters of Pearson because Larkin was black and was opposing the black Police Chief. One black pastor who went to Larkin and threatened him is Mr Norsworthy, the husband of one of the recalled Council members. Larkin stood his ground and said that he supports people based on qualifications and not race. Funny how those little details did not make it into the liberal news stories. I did talk to Larkin though and Larkin had many interesting things to say. You can read more of what Larkin had to say by scrolling down to further in this article.
Another outspoken black Jasper Resident, Sister Celentine King, can been seen in online videos at City Council meetings defending the firing of Pearson due to qualifications and not race. You can read some of the comments from King and a link to the video of the meeting by scrolling down further in this article.
2) These media outlets make it appear as though the white people in the city were simply not happy with a black person in power on the council or in the police department. These liberal news outlets of course did not mention that Jasper has elected MANY black leaders in the past with no problems or controversy. Even the black Council members who were recalled for hiring Pearson NEVER had any problems with being a black council member. It was only after they hired Pearson when their troubles began. At the same time that the Pearson controversy was going on, the people of Jasper overwhelmingly voted to elect the first black State Representative in East Texas (Republican State Rep. James White). The media outlets did not interview any of these past black elected officials who never had a problem and they did not bother to interview the newly elected black State Rep. James White. KJAS Radio News did talk to James White about the situation in Jasper and that interview can be seen by clicking here.
These liberal media outlets clearly missed the ball here. If they reported the whole truth they would know this is not about white people in Jasper not wanting a black leader. The firing and recall is clearly about these Council members being help responsible by the voters for hiring a bad police Chief with a criminal record. In fact, the media also does not point out that the majority of the population in Jasper is black so it HAD to have taken black people voting against Pearson and these council members for them to be removed.
3) The New York Times started out their story by talking about a supposedly segregated cemetery in Jasper as proof of past and current racism in Jasper. Well, two black funeral home directors in Jasper say that the New York Times article about segregated cemeteries and a fence separating black and whites is a bunch of lies! Funny that the New York Times did not interview the black owned funeral homes or black funeral directors when writing their story about where people get buried in Jasper. KJAS however DID interview these black funeral home directors. These black directors say that the New York Times article is wrong. You can read some of the comments from these black funeral home directors by scrolling further down in this article.
4) These media outlets also do not mention that Cade Bernsen, the lawyer representing Pearson who called the media and declares his firing as racism, is known as a race-baiter who seeks any situation where he can cry racism. Bernsen is also currently suing the City of Orange on false claims of racism because Bernsen says a black police officer, Robert Arnold, was fired because of his race even though Robert Arnold was fired because he killed a white unarmed war veteran, James Whitehead, and because Arnold had a history of violence like punching a teenage girl in the face and breaking his partner's leg with a metal pipe.
5) The media does not seem to care about the several lawsuits that have been filed against the City of Jasper by more qualified white candidates who say they were discriminated against when the black members of the former City Council hired Pearson based on race. The media did not mention the fact that there are lawsuits against the city from white officers who were fired or demoted as soon as Pearson became the Police Chief. If any racism or discrimination did occur in this situation in Jasper, it was discrimination against the several well qualified applicants and officers who were fired or passed over so that a less qualified Pearson could be picked in a backroom deal. Some media outlets do not even mention these many lawsuits in their story and some only gave a sentence or two mentioning the white lawsuits, but then using the rest of the entire article to talk about the one discrimination lawsuit filed by Pearson.
6) The media lied about Pearson's involvement in the James Byrd Jr. dragging investigation to try to tie that dragging into this story. The media had to somehow try to emotionally connect the firing of Pearson to the dragging of James Byrd Jr. 14 years ago. Not only is it wrong to try to connect this firing with the horrendous murder by random individuals who have since been convicted and some of them even put to death already. Yet Pearson and the papers try to make that connection. They have to lie though just to even make their story look good. The New York Times says that Pearson, then a state trooper, was the first law enforcement officer at the scene of Mr. Byrd’s killing and found his body. This is false. According to the Sheriff’s Department Dispatcher Alice Rector Duckworth who took the call the day of the James Byrd Jr murder: “Rodney Pearson had NOTHING to do with finding his body as this newscast would have you believe. The first responders were Joe Sterling, Tommy Robinson, and the late Sam Sanders. Rodney was nothing but a road block cop. It had nothing to do with "highway patrol duties" it was a murder not a wreck.” Pearson and his attorneys are lying and sensationalizing the Byrd murder to perpetuate their own legal endeavors.
7) The media had no problem mentioning a couple of random comments on Facebook to make the people against Pearson look racist, and yet they ignore the racists and threatening posts on Facebook by pro Pearson individuals, like Jessie Land, talking about "running a train" on a woman who wanted Pearson fired (see Facebook screenshot further down in this article). They also ignored the detail of the statement made at a City Council meeting saying that the city needs a black Police Chief so they have to hire Pearson.
8) Pearson did not meet the basic job requirements, was at the bottom of the list of applicant qualifications, and even lied about his criminal record!
TWENTY THREE total applicants applied for this position. Pearson was among the least qualified yet he was considered "automatically" a finalist by the previous council.
After Pearson's hiring, it was revealed that he had a criminal background and lied about it on his application. That ALONE would get most people fired!
Pearson had never been promoted beyond a trooper after 20 years of DPS service. He was a state trooper (highway patrolman) with the Department of Public Safety and he never served in any type of supervisory position. He had no municipal experience investigating crimes like murders and only dealt with traffic incidents.
Pearson did not even met the minimum requirements for the job. THE BASIC JOB REQUIREMENTS POSTED BY THE CITY OF JASPER 02/17/11: BACHELORS DEGREE IN CRIMINAL JUSTICE OR 7 + YEARS EXPERIENCE IN MANAGEMENT OF POLICE PERSONNEL AND RELATED DUTIES - PEARSON HAD NEITHER! The top applicant had 19 years municipal experience/Pearson NONE, top applicant 3740 education hours/Pearson 61, top applicant 2843 training hours/Pearson 1220, top applicant 4 year degree/Pearson NONE, top applicant advanced degree/Pearson NONE.
The recalled council gave him a 5k pay raise just a few months after taking the job (even though pay raises are not allowed until after one year on the job), and then they Council even attempted to put him into a contract months after hiring so that future City Councils could not fire him.
Pearson took two or more vacations in his first year (policy/procedure requires one year employment to qualify for vacation) removed a brand new patrol vehicle from the streets had it re-painted and accessorized for him to drive without approval leaving our City short a patrol vehicle, excessive spending/over budget, demoted seasoned officers without reason. Pearson did not even bother to show up at major crime investigations that the Police Chief of the city should have shown up to.
Additional Supporting Information (Interviews, Facebook Screenshots, etc)
Interview with Michael Larkin - (Owner of Local BBQ business)
Larkin is a black business man in Jasper, TX who not only opposed Pearson as as unqualified Police Chief, but he also was in favor of recalling the black Council members who hired Pearson. Larkin was even threatened for having a recall sign on his property. Did CNN of the New York Times care to call this man? No. This interview would not fit into their story of only white people opposing Pearson and the council members.
Below is what Michael Larkin had to say:
I don't think he was fired because of racism. I believe it had to do with his job performance. I feel like he wasn't doing his job. I think the media is trying to blow it up and stir things up over here again. I run a business and most of my business is white people and there are no problems with them buying from me.
If you score the lowest on the ranking and you score a 2 and there are people who score better like an 8 then you shouldn't get the job
It doesn't matter what color you are, I think the best person should get the job.
The Pearson group even threatened me. Preacher Norsworthy (husband of Jasper City Councilwoman Norsworthy) went to him at football game and threatened to boycott my business because I do business and serve white people in town. I was mad they he would threaten me like that.
I don't care what color you are, I am not going to stop being friends with people because another friend my same color tells me to not to be friends with someone of another color.
I think it was wrong to put him in because he was less qualified. Then the first week he takes a vacation and then in a backdoor meeting you get with the council members and get them to raise your pay. You have to perform first before the council should decide to give you a raise.
Pearson and the captain never showed up to big incidents. There was one incident where they went to a house and the man was in bed and they wanted to get the man out of the house so they sent a dog in to eat up the man in his bed to get him out. Pearson never even showed up to that incident to tell these officer what to do to get the guy out of the house. There were many late night and major incidents that Pearson did not show up to.
Video of Sister Celentine King - (she was in attendance at Council meeting terminating Pearson)
Quotes of Sister King at Jasper City Council Meeting October 10, 2011 - Defending Mayor Mike Lout during the Recall process of the Mayor
In this video of the City Council Meeting, Sister King begins at 26:39 and stops at 33:22 on the video.
Quotes from Sister King from the City Council Video:
"It's not about color....Qualifications is what it is about"
"Truth is the Truth"
"We as pastors; the men and women of the cloth...we have made a mess out of this thing"
"When the preachers won't do right what can we expect for the other people to do"
below is a portion of an Article on KJAS, Black Funeral Home Directors Dispute NY Times Article:
A New York Times article published on Friday, and written by reporter Manny Fernandez, is being disputed by the directors of two traditionally black funeral homes in Jasper.
”What that newspaper is saying is incorrect, and you can tell that reporter to call me and I’ll tell him”. Those were the words of Dory Coleman, owner of Coleman’s Mortuary in Jasper, which traditionally serves the African American community.
The premise of the article was to tell the story of the hiring and firing of Police Chief Rodney Pearson. However, the article inexplicably dwelled on the Jasper City Cemetery on North Main Street, and an old iron fence that was put there in the early 1900’s to keep free roaming livestock from disturbing the graves, but was portrayed in the article as a dividing line between black and white burial plots.
Calling it the “segregated cemetery”, the story said “…Jasper City Cemetery remains segregated: blacks, including Mr. Byrd (James Byrd, Jr.), are buried near the bottom of the hill, while whites are buried at the top”.
”Not True” said Coleman. “Our funeral home has buried people, both black and white people, in all sections of that cemetery”.
Facebook Screenshot of Inappropriate Comments by Jessie Land
Facebook Screenshot Comment of 911 Dispatcher in Byrd Jr Dragging
Below is an info-graph about what is going on in Jasper and also a graph showing Police Chief Candidate Qualifications. (click to make larger)
Previous Articles about this Police Chief/ Council Recall Saga in Jasper, TX: