Surf City’s police chief stormed out of an emergency town council this afternoon after choosing to retire.
Surf City’s mayor called the emergency meeting to discuss personnel concerns. The meeting came after a post on social media by Police Chief Mike Halstead last week.
The post, that has since been deleted or made unavailable to view by some, detailed Halstead’s concerns about the “Black Lives Matter” movement. He called the movement “an American-born terrorist group” and said the government needs to step up and put a stop to it. He said the movement glorifies criminals and vilifies members of law enforcement.
Town Manager Larry Bergman said the post was in reference to a recent event.
“He felt pretty passionate about it,” Bergman said. “Someone had just been murdered in Texas and it was in relation to that incident.”
Council voted to accept Halstead’s retirement, which is effective immediately, and pay him 60 days severance. Bergman said it is because the post violates a policy that has to do with how the chief is supposed to present himself.
“Personal postings are not allowed,” Bergman said.
Maj. Ron Shanahan will serve as interim chief, town leaders said.
While some residents voiced concerns over some of the text, military police officer Andrew Vann said he agrees with the chief.
“In my personal experience, when you put on a badge or a uniform, that’s what people see,” Vann said. “They don’t see your color. They see the blue or the black, and that’s how the majority of police officers act, and he’s been in law enforcement for 35 years. He didn’t get there by riding the rails or hiding behind someone else.”