The town of Jasper tried to heal

Canada Goose Parka Racial tension again tests Texas town

buy canada goose jacket cheap By Deborah Feyerick, CNN

Jasper, Texas (CNN) Down a long winding road in the canada goose uk shop deep east Texas woods, a car pulls up to the Huff Creek cemetery. Unfazed by the 100 degree heat, Rodney Pearson walks to the road and points to the exact spot where he first saw the body of James Byrd Jr. more than 14 years ago.

cheap Canada Goose they tied him to the truck he was going from side to side, says Pearson, describing Canada Goose Outlet how three white men chained Byrd, a black man, buy canada goose jacket to the back of their pickup truck, and dragged him more than two miles before dumping his body outside the cemetery.

canadian goose jacket Pearson was the first black trooper working in Jasper, with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

He swipes his hand diagonally across his chest explaining how Byrd’s head and shoulder became separated from the rest of his body after a particularly sharp curve near a drain pipe. head and shoulders caught right here and severed it off his body, Pearson said.

canada goose black friday sale The killers were caught. Two were sentenced to death; the other got life in prison. The town of Jasper tried to heal.

canada goose clearance Despite the racial nature of the crime, Pearson says he never experienced overt racism while Canada Goose Coats On Sale living in Jasper, cheap Canada Goose a small town of about 7,500 people a 2 hour drive from Houston. He and his wife, Sandra, who is white, married canada goose store in Jasper, and Canada Goose Jackets they got along cheap canada goose uk with everyone, blacks and whites.

But the couple say that changed after Pearson was hired as interim police chief, a position that became permanent two months later, in April 2011.

Canada Goose Jackets From that moment, Pearson says, the trouble began.

Despite being uk canada goose the town first black police chief, Pearson wasnever given the traditional public swearing in ceremony.

wanted to canada goose wait until things calmed down, he said.

canada goose coats on sale But things did not calm down, and what seemed like a simple hire has turned buy canada goose jacket cheap Jasper upside down.

Pearson was hired by a city council uk canada goose outlet composed of four black members and one Canada Goose Parka white member. The vote divided along racial lines: the blacks voted in favor, and the white council Canada Goose Online member voted against.

The problem was compounded when Jasper Mayor Mike Lout, who is white, backed a different canada goose coats on sale candidate an 18 year veteran of the Jasper police force.

Canada Goose sale The City Council, not the mayor, chooses the police chief.

canada goose clearance sale Lout, a former friend of Pearson says he thought Pearson lacked leadership and was surprised when Pearson was given the job.

just basically didn have, canada goose clearance sale he didn know how to tell other people what to do and how to command, I felt, Lout said. didn’t think he was the man for the job then, I don’t think he’s the man for the job now. As far as it being a black or white issue, I canada goose uk outlet pushed for a white and I pushed for a black man as candidates for that job. In fact, the man that I pushed the most was a black man from Houston. lawyer, Cade Bernsen defends Pearson credentials, and says what happened next was nothing short of “systematic discrimination on the part of the city against the chief.”

canada goose deals Pearson says members of the Jasper Police Department deliberately excluded him from meetings, failed to notify canada goose black friday sale him about several crime scenes, and staged sick canada goose coats outs. Several officers quit after being reassigned.

Canada Goose online And canadian goose jacket Mayor Lout, whom canada goose factory sale Pearson had long considered a friend, stopped speaking to him. Lout disputes this. did speak to each other, we just didn talk.”

canada goose store The racial divide soon intensified.

canada goose coats Pearson says he was subjected to daily attacks on local radio station KJAS, which is owned by Jasper Mayor Mike canada goose clearance Lout.

buy canada goose jacket Comments on the radio station Facebook page contained hateful messages and racial slurs, including the n word. One woman wrote, think there is about to be a stink here in Jasper bigger than the Byrd ordeal!!! seemingly referring to the 1998 racial stand off in Jasper between members of the Ku Klux Klan and Black Panthers.

Another man circulated a condom ad showing pictures of Pearson, two black council members, plus President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama, saying their parents should have listened and used protection.

been so many untruths printed, so many untruths said, says Sandra Pearson. just, it very hurtful. And I just, I never understood that people could go to that magnitude of hate. all canada goose black friday white group of residents calling itself the League of Concerned Citizens of Jasper launched a petition drive to recall the black council members for incompetence and misconduct in hiring Pearson.

One of the organizers of the petition, Lance Caraway, refused to speak to CNN.

Former councilwoman Terrya Norsworthy, who was recalled, defends hiring Pearson, Canada Goose sale who had 20 years of law enforcement canada goose uk black friday experience and strong ties to both the black and white communities.

were not incompetent when we voted for raises for the city of Jasper, Norsworthy said. were not incompetent when we bought $100,000 in equipment. Now all of a sudden we make a positive decision for the city and we find ourselves recalled? lawyer went to federal court to try and stop the recall vote but was unsuccessful.

During a hearing, a forensic expert testified that a number of signatures on the recall petitions circulated by the Concerned Citizens were likely forged.

canada goose Magistrate Judge Zack Hawthorn, who allowed the vote to take place anyway, said it appeared almost all the petitioners Canada Goose online and signers were white, suggesting race was a factor.