FOREST PARK — The Forest Park City Council voted 3-2 Monday night to fire longtime Police Chief L. Dwayne Hobbs.
After an executive session from 8:37 p.m. to 9:17 p.m., the council, Mayor Angelyne Butler, and City Manager Angela Redding reemerged to take up the vote.
Councilwoman Latresa Akins-Wells said, “I move we direct the city manager to terminate Chief Hobbs immediately.” Councilman Dabouze Antoine seconded the motion.
Akins-Wells, Antoine, and Councilwoman Kimberly James voted to fire Hobbs.
Councilmembers Sandra Bagley and Allan Mears voted against Hobbs’ immediate firing.
Antoine then made a motion to appoint Capt. Jason Armstrong as interim chief. Akins-Wells seconded the motion. Sources had floated Armstrong’s name as Hobbs’ possible replacement earlier this week.
The council voted 3-2, along the same lines, to install Armstrong as interim chief.
Akins said the decision was not based on race. Hobbs is white and Armstrong is black.
Councilwoman Kimberly James said, “It was never our intention to go this route,” adding the council had “come to an agreement to work out some things so (Hobbs) could have some dignity in retirement.”
Bagley, Antoine, and Mears had no comment on the vote.
The council chambers and entrance were packed to standing room only with both citizens and uniformed members of the Forest Park Police Department.
Although Hobbs was not present in chambers, sources at the meeting said he was watching on closed circuit in an adjacent room.
After the meeting, uniformed officers lined up to shake Armstrong’s hand.
Asked how she liked the new police chief, Mayor Butler smiled but declined comment.