YEADON, Pa. - A large crowd packed into a Yeadon Borough council meeting on Monday night to throw their support behind Police Chief Anthony ‘Chachi’ Paparo, who claims that a newly-elected council will move to fire him because he is white.
Chief Paparo said he turned down a severance offer in a meeting with Yeadon Mayor Rohan K. Hepkins and Borough Council President Sharon Council-Harris, FOX 29's Steve Keeley reports. He expects the council to reconvene for a voting session to make the decision official.
Paparo has led the Yeadon Borough Police Department for the past three years and his crime-fighting strategies have garnered praise from the community and the borough leadership.
"I don't fit, the race that they want to run the town and I didn't want to believe it," Paparo told FOX 29 on Monday.
Paparo said he started hearing rumblings that the borough council was going to fire him when his contract expired in January. He originally scoffed at the idea that he would be dismissed from his post, then he was met with a stirring accusation.
"Residents were coming to me, various people were coming to me, and say they're going to fire me in January. I was like ‘come on now," Paparo said. "Then the rumors started that they wanted a Black chief in Yeadon."
President Sharon Council-Harris called the accusation of racism is "totally absurd."
"It is unbelievable and outrageous," she told FOX 29. "We don't have to make a decision based on color, we didn't do it the first time, we won't do it the next time."
Council-Harris said that Paparo's future is in question for violating a Fraternal Order of Police contract clause with years of overspending.
"Chief Paparo was responsible for two consecutive years of violating FOP contract clause by providing over hours to part-timers to the tune of $387,000 grievance and fine," Council-Harris said. "So that is really the heart of this issue."
Yeadon is a 90% Black community, yet hundreds of residents have signed a Change.org petition to keep Chief Paparo on the job.
"This man is well-loved in our community, a lot of his crime-fighting tactics have been emulated in neighboring boroughs," Mayor Hepkins said. "Yes I am a Black mayor and I want to keep this white police chief because he's keeping our community safe."
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