The president of the Dayton unit of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) in a press conference Friday called upon the city of Nelsonville to fire a police officer who allegedly has made racist, threatening comments about Hocking College's interim police chief.
Derrick L. Foward, president of the Dayton NAACP unit, said Friday afternoon that the city of Nelsonville must terminate police officer Joshua Braglin, or face a potential lawsuit from the NAACP. By Monday, he added, the NAACP will file a complaint with U.S. District Attorney Benjamin Glassman for the Southern District of Ohio (with the U.S. Department of Justice) regarding the situation.
Nelsonville City Manager Chuck Barga has said the city has been investigating Braglin's conduct since last November, when they learned of racist, insulting posts Braglin apparently made on Facebook about Hocking College Interim Police Chief Tiffany Tims (who is African American) and Hocking College President Betty Young. Braglin was placed on paid administrative leave on April 3 of this year, and then on unpaid leave on April 26.
Foward referenced a comment that Braglin allegedly made to two other Nelsonville Police officers earlier this year or late last year, wherein the two officers recounted to Barga, Braglin said he would "beat that n****r to death with a banana” before Tims could be made the permanent police chief of Hocking College.
"That is downright bigotry, that is downright racism and he needs to be fired immediately," Foward said. "I am calling on Mr. Barga to do the right thing, I am calling upon the chief of police of Nelsonville to do the right thing, to terminate his (Braglin's) employment immediately."
Foward declined to comment on when or in what capacity the NAACP would file a lawsuit against the city of Nelsonville. "I think we have given enough time to the city manager to do the right thing," he added.
Tims spoke out for the first time publicly during the press conference in Dayton. She initially had filed a complaint with the city of Nelsonville last year about Braglin's conduct.
"This situation has dragged on," Tims said. "...They said when I asked them, on January or February, what was going on with the case... that they had turned it over to an investigator. My concern is I filed the complaint in December, and you start the investigation in February? Then in April you put him on administrative leave, he was still working, and then on April 26 you put him on unpaid administrative leave? I'm trying to figure out where does justice get served. As a law enforcement officer, you're held at a difference standard.
"...Something has to be done," Tims continued. "There are a lot of African-American men who are being killed because of individuals (police) like this (Braglin). I cannot brush this under the rug."
One screenshot of Braglin's apparent Facebook posts, which The NEWS obtained via public-records requests, shows an image which appears to be from Facebook Messenger, of Braglin sharing a meme of an African-American woman sitting in her car with the text “Acting Chief Timms (sic)… Chicken and Waffles Baby!!!”
Another post on Braglin’s Facebook is structured like a Bible passage.
“A reading from the book of Braglin. ‘ The Lord sayith to young Joshua, the force between good and evil, ‘Step forward and speak your mind, if the half ass chief and old bitty president of a sinking college don’t like your comments, tell them to F*** off’ ….for the Lord’s house has many rooms, 1 filled with bananas, the other with effordent (sic).” Efferdent is a denture care product, and the four-letter F-word was spelled out.
Barga has said the city held a pre-disciplinary hearing for Braglin on April 2, after which, Police Chief Chris Johnson said in a report, that he recommended “discipline up to and including termination” for Braglin. Barga said this week that another pre-disciplinary hearing is scheduled for next week; that hearing will involve discussion of Braglin's alleged threat to "beat that n****r to death with a banana" against Tims.
The NEWS has learned that Braglin has been disciplined by the city of Nelsonville on five separate occasions since 2009, prior to the most recent investigation. See background on most of those disciplines here.
Barga said Wednesday this week that the probe into Braglin has taken a longer time than would normally be the case because all of his reported comments have come when he was “off duty.” Braglin has previously acknowledged to a city-hired investigator that he made the Facebook posts, but doesn't consider them "racist." During the first pre-disciplinary hearing, Braglin's police union-appointed attorney said Braglin is "remorseful" and "regrets" making the posts, and claimed it was "off-duty, alcohol-related speech."
The NEWS will follow up on this story further in our Tuesday edition next week.