Jonesboro (AR) Police Chief Mike Yates will be suspended for 30 days without pay for posting vicious comments about former Jonesboro Sun crime reporter Sunshine Crump.
The city’s mayor also ordered Yates to apologize to both the Sun and Crump, who quit on Monday after months of intimidation by the chief. (“I do not feel safe here,” she wrote in her resignation letter.)
The AP reports:
The mayor gave Yates a written warning that he’d be immediately fired if he again used social media to “imply threats, actions or consequences” tied to his authority as chief.
Sun publisher David Mosesso calls the punishment “a slap on the wrist” and tells me that “we don’t think he’s fit to continue in his role as police chief. But we have to accept it and hopefully we’ll all move on.”
Mosesso adds: “I’m writing an editorial [about the suspension] right now. I’m not a writer, but I have opinions [about this] and I represent the newspaper.” (His piece runs in Sunday’s paper – behind a paywall – and he promises to share it with Romenesko readers on Monday.)
Will Crump return to the paper now that the chief has been slapped?
“We don’t know,” says Mosesso. “I talked to her today, and we’re going to talk again on Monday.” The publisher says another newspaper in his chain has offered to hire the reporter if she doesn’t return to the Sun, “but it’s 200 miles away.”
Yates wrote on Facebook that Crump was a “smelly” and unscrupulous reporter” and that dealing with her “is like trying to pick up a dog turd by the ‘clean end.’” The attacks started after Crump’s reporting resulted in the chief losing a teaching job.
* Jonesboro mayor to suspend police chief for 30 days (arktimes.com)
* Earlier: Reporter resigns over police chief’s ugly comments on Facebook (jimromenesko.com)
* Update: Read comments from my Facebook friends and subscribers (facebook.com)