Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Lake City Florida: The Police Chief - Confederate controversy, another view


Columbia County Observer


LAKE CITY, FL – When I arrived in Lake City on Monday afternoon, July 16, 2012, for the lynching that was planned for the Honorable Police Chief Argatha Gilmore, I could see the press already gathering. I could smell the tar and see the feathers blowing in the wind. The NAACP and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference had babies, who looked to be as young as six years old, carrying custom made signs that read, "Chief Argatha Gilmore has to go." I thought to myself: got no shame. These babies have no idea what's going on and should be home in bed.

The Commander of the Florida Division of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Mechanized Calvary and I gave interviews to two different television stations expressing our support for the Chief.

We also held conversations with several citizens who expressed support for the Chief and the wonderful job she had done since taking office. This sentiment resonated when we entered a downtown bakery shop.

It had been a long time since I had seen so many citizens and press gathered for a public meeting and by the time the Mayor called the meeting to order, even an ant would have to wait in the hall. It was standing room only.

Then the Council meeting began.

The head of the state Southern Christian Leadership Conference would drag a dark cloud over the room as he laid out a convincing indictment that the Chief and her department had broken the public trust. Then he started in on the Southern Cross, General Forrest, and the picture taken with the honorable men of the Mechanized Calvary.

I was very proud of the Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Mechanized Cavalry as he spoke so eloquently about the Chief and the integrity of his men.

Then it was my turn. I read my prepared statement. I promised the Chief I was going to be good. However, after hearing what I had heard the Chief would have to forgive me because I was mad and was not going to stand by and let a good person, no a great Chief be railroaded by the likes of those who had come against her. I had already gone over my allotted 5 minutes, but was allowed to take 15 minutes more.

I was flabbergasted by the thunderous applause I received from all those wonderful folks. It was like a flood gate had been opened as more and more folks stepped to the mike in support of the Chief, including another former NAACP President like myself.

Then the Chief had her turn. When she was finished exposing the poverty pimps and those who had instigated this planned fiasco she could have run unopposed for any position in the entire land, especially if all in that room were doing the voting. If I wasn't so filled with male machismo, I would cry as many of the ladies and men had already began to do.

When one of the Councilmen called for a confidence vote and the City Clerk read off their names it was unanimous. The poverty pimps and those they had brought with them had already existed in shame. I had shouted out in glee as each Council gave a resounding vote of yes and then we all cried.

I was so proud of Chief Gilmore and wish I could write all the reasons why. It was one of the greatest days in Dixie that I have ever had.

The Table of Brotherhood had been prepared by the Police Chief in Lake City, just as it had in been done in Cross City Florida by the Honorable Sons of Confederate Veterans Commander Joe Sparacino and the President of the MLK Peace March Ms. Angela Carter. May God shine his Grace on these wonderful people for they are truly deserving.

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