A Mississippi police chief has been sacked after he was recorded spewing racist and homophobic epithets— and even bragged about repeatedly shooting and killing suspects.
“I shot that n— 119 times, OK?” former police chief Sam Dobbins said in audio provided to The Daily Beast from JULIAN, a civil rights legal organization based in Jackson, Mississippi.
On Wednesday, the Board of Aldermen in Lexington, Mississippi, chose to remove Dobbins as head of the city’s police department.
Two men are heard on the audio. One of the men is former Lexington officer Robert Lee Hooker, a Black man who made the recording. The other man was identified as Dobbins, who is white. The two men are heard discussing something that Dobbins allegedly said that upset Hooker.
“Well, if you’re looking for an apology after I gave you an apology back then, you’re barking up the wrong tree,” Dobbins says. “I told you the other day, I said, ‘Hooker, you’re going to understand. I didn’t mean anything personal by it when I said what I said.’ …If you gonna let some words bother you, maybe this ain’t the place for you.”
Dobbins asserts in the audio that he said whatever it was that offended Hooker in order to silence the officer.
“I’m just trying to get you to shut up. That’s all I was trying to get you to do. …It ain’t nothing personal,” he says.
After Hooker continues to explain to Dobbins why he was upset, Dobbins eventually apologizes. However, Dobbins goes on to seemingly gaslight Hooker and claim that he was also a victim in their exchange.
“Are you sorry? You walked out on me yesterday,” he said.
After Hooker explains he walked out the day before because he was emotionally upset, Dobbins claims that he would be the only person to protect Hooker while on duty.
“In the streets, there’s going to be one man fighting for you. That’s going to be me. Don’t ruin that,” Dobbins says.
The police chief elaborates that he killed 13 men during his career, calling their deaths “justified.”
“Ask around,” he says. “I went hard.”
Dobbins continues bragging about shooting a Black person 119 times, according to the MCIR, and claims—while using other homophobic slurs—that he doesn’t talk to “queers.”
The Daily Beast was unable to reach Dobbins for comment. Nonetheless, his still-current Facebook profile features a lot of content relating to Blue Lives Matter.
The vote to dismiss Dobbins from his position was a close call. While three members chose to fire him, two others including Richard Spencer, the city’s former mayor, and Charles Simmons voted against the termination, MCIR reported.
On Wednesday, the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party posted on its Facebook page that “police misconduct and abuse of power” are “very serious threats” in Lexington.
“The [Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party] personally met with Mayor Robin McCrory on multiple occasions about the unlawful and unethical behavior as well as addressing the Mayor and Board of Aldermen at their regular meeting,” the post read. “It is shameful and appalling that this situation has reached this moment because of the inactions of elected officials.”
Cardell Wright, president of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party, held a press conference after the board vote to address the public.
Wright told The Daily Beast that Dobbins’ relationship with the Black community had been “strained” since he took his position as chief of police in 2021. Wright said it didn’t take long for Black residents to complain about harassment, abuse, and mass arrests of activists.
Roughly 80 percent of Lexington’s demographic is Black, Wright said. According to the town’s profile on its county website, the population is a little more than 2,000.
“Chief Dobbins has been a problem in Lexington for some time,” Leo Carney of the activist organization American Descendants of Slaves Mississippi Chapter told The Daily Beast. “Many of the residents in Lexington have complained about Chief Dobbins and his racist behavior.”
“It appeared as if [Dobbins] had an issue with the Black community,” Wright said.
In an attempt to reach McCrory, an administrative assistant in her office told The Daily Beast she had already left for the day—before noon. McCrory did not immediately respond to The Daily Beast’s multiple requests for comment.
“Due to the failures of our elected officials and the constant abuse of power by law enforcement,” the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party concluded, “[the party] publicly condemns the City of Lexington and the Lexington Police Department.”