For those who may not be familiar with the Fire and Police Commission, this is the 5 person commission responsible for interviewing and recommending new hires for both the Police and Fire departments here in Freeport. They are also charged with reviewing candidates for promotions as well as disciplinary actions for personnel in both departments
Early last month we reported that Mayor Jodi Miller intended to appoint a new member to the fire and police commission at the August 17th City Council meeting. As promised, the Freeport Fire and Police Commission now has a fresh new face, an African American woman named Leslie Brown.
As we reported last month, prior to the election of Jodi Miller this commission consisted of 3 caucasions and 2 African Americans. That was until the Mayor chose to dismiss the only two minorities on the commission and replace them with two more white people, meaning the commission was now made up of 4 white men and one white woman. The recent resignation of Tammy Smull Byrnes from the commission left an open spot and an opportunity for Jodi Miller to diversify one of Freeports most important commissions, and she seized upon that opportunity and appointed Leslie Brown.
Once Brown’s name was brought up at the City Council meeting we were inundated with requests to know who she was and we were also sent screenshots of social media posts from Leslie Brown. One such post was a lengthy commentary on Black Lives Matter that most people would consider derogatory in nature towards the movement. We’ve attached all of the screenshots to this article. The person who sent us this information wishes to remain anonymous but it was The Voice of Freeport that originally took the screen shots when informed of their existence. The post in question has since been deleted and Leslie Brown’s Facebook page has also been deleted or the staff at The Voice of Freeport has been blocked from viewing it.
The post accuses Black Lives Matter protestors for the death of 8 year old Secoriea Turner. As many of our readers know Turner was killed on July 4th during civil unrest over the killing of unarmed Rayshard Brooks. According to the Atlanta Journal Constitution there was a total of 28 people shot in Atlanta that day. As of today there’s been one arrest in Turner’s death. A 19 year old Julian Conley who maintains he didn’t fire a weapon. The Atlanta police department is still conducting their investigation.
The post goes on to ask whether or not our “cry (is) as loud” for “babies’ lives” since they “weren’t killed by police” and “How can we demand justice from one group of people when we ourselves exhibit none or rather don’t demand it from all?”. While continuing on by saying that she has no problem with “speaking against police brutality, oppression, racism, or injustices of any kind but I also refuse to be silent about any violence toward the many fine law enforcement officers who legitimately do their jobs, risk their lives, and sacrifice countless hours with their loved ones to serve and protect communities”.
She ends by commenting that the reader can “delete me, unfriend me, call me a boot licker, Uncle Tom, religious… doesn’t matter….” and “My thoughts… my feelings… my page… I’m still going to love, still going to pray, still going to do unto others as I would have them do unto me.” It’s unclear whether these words are all directly from Leslie Brown or if any of these words are from a copy and paste Facebook post.
In an attempt to learn more about Brown we reached out to request an interview, which she agreed to participate in following the August 25th Fire and Police Commission meeting. We were contacted by Brown prior to the meeting and asked to provide the questions we intended to ask, and so we obliged. Most of the questions were pretty standard straight forward questions about her experience, qualifications, and goals. However, the final question was in reference to a recently deleted facebook post in which Leslie Brown is critical of the BLM movement:
“Some folks in the community have expressed concern about a recently deleted Facebook post that was critical of BLM, can you clarify what your position is on the BLM movement and what they stand for? Why did you feel the need to delete the post?”- VoF
About 20 minutes later we received the following response from Leslie Brown:
“Thank you for providing this list of questions. I will be quite honest with you, I am concerned with some of the questions and the avenue by which some of the questions were derived. That being said, for now I would prefer to refrain from interviewing at this time.”- Leslie Brown
We’ve received no response from numerous requests from City Hall or Mayor Miller’s office. We’ve also received no response from a follow up message to Leslie Brown as of press time. Be sure to follow The Voice of Freeport and this article as we will update as we learn more. Please let us know what you think in the comments here and on social media.
This report was brought to you by Nick Nunez our City Hall correspondent.