Mayor Resigns After Making ‘Queer’ Comments About Police Officer
On Feb 11, 2013 04:04 pm
The mayor of a southeastern Ohio village who was accused earlier this week of degrading a gay police officer and refusing to allow his partner to visit the police station has resigned.
Pomeroy Mayor Mary McAngus hand-delivered a resignation letter to a village council member today, said Council President Jackie Welker.
The letter was only a few sentences. McAngus did not acknowledge that she had treated Police Officer Kyle Calendine poorly. She wrote that “due to circumstances,” she was resigning and that it had been a pleasure to serve as mayor the past 14 months.
McAngus has not publicly commented since Police Chief Mark E. Proffitt came forward with his concerns about how Calendine was being treated. She could not immediately be reached for comment today.
She was accused of calling Calendine a queer and using other slurs. Others said she didn’t want Calendine’s partner stopping by the police department, though family members of other officers routinely drop by with lunch or before or after a shift.
Calendine, who was hired as a part-time officer in this Ohio River community in September, said he was disappointed in how he has been treated. He was on duty today when he got word that McAngus had resigned.
The resignation pleases him, although he wishes the mayor had also apologized, he said.
He said he’s been overwhelmed by the widespread support he’s received and hopes now that tensions in the community will ease.
“I am who I am, and I won’t apologize for how I live my life,” Calendine said. “I just want to do my job.”
Proffitt said that Calendine is a terrific and dedicated police officer, one who didn’t deserve this kind of treatment.
“Kyle Calendine would lay down his life for anyone in need,” said Proffitt, who has been police chief since 2000 in Pomeroy, about 100 miles southeast of Columbus. “This is a win for Kyle, for our department and for the gay community. It lets people know that no matter what, we’re all in this together.”
Welker said it has been a difficult week and that the mayor’s resignation was welcomed.
He expects council will formally accept it as an already-scheduled public meeting Monday night. Welker will then temporarily take over the duties.
“We look forward to getting this behind us,” Welker said. “We support our police chief and his department and have all the confidence in the world in what they do. We’re sorry this all happened.”
The trouble had been brewing for a few weeks.
The police chief had last month submitted to the village council an information packet that included his six-page sworn statement. He warned the council that the mayor’s behavior could get the village of 2,000 residents sued. Proffitt wrote that McAngus called him into her office about two weeks after Calendine was hired. She said she heard “that Kyle was a queer” and asked what the chief was going to do about it. Nothing, he replied, because that would be discrimination.
“She stated ‘I don’t like a Queer working for the Village, I might be old-fashioned, but I don’t like it.’” Proffitt wrote in the statement.
The mayor persisted in making crude comments about the officer and his partner to police department employees, Proffitt said.
It created a hostile work environment for everyone, the chief said today. Now, he hopes the community can focus on healing.
He is not so naïve, however, as to believe this is the end of it. In fact, he said he’s long been a victim of discrimination himself; his wife is Filipino.
“The sad thing is that while we support Kyle, there will be someone else someplace else tomorrow.”
He said that when he called Calendine earlier today to tell him the mayor had resigned, he tried to make his message clear: “His partner, Harold, is welcome to stop by our department and have lunch anytime.”
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