What to Know
- Yeadon Borough council members fired Police Chief Anthony Paparo in a 4-3 vote on Thursday, accusing him of mismanaging funds while denying claims that their efforts were racially motivated.
- The controversy began earlier in February when Yeadon Councilmember Liana Roadcloud accused other councilmembers of trying to fire Paparo due to him being a white police chief in a predominately Black borough.
- The councilmembers said their desire to fire Paparo had nothing to do with his race however and instead accused him of mismanaging funds and spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on police overtime.
Yeadon Borough council members voted to fire their police chief, accusing him of mismanaging funds while denying claims that their efforts were racially motivated.
The borough members fired Chief Anthony Paparo in a 4-3 vote Thursday evening at the Yeadon Borough Council Legislative meeting.
After the meeting, some community members chased after councilmembers and shouted at them, angry over the decision to fire Paparo.
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"This is not how my career ends," Paparo said after the vote. "Thirty-eight years of my life as a cop, this is not how my career ends because of the color of my skin."
The controversy began earlier in February when Yeadon Councilmember Liana Roadcloud accused other councilmembers of trying to fire Paparo due to him being a white police chief in a predominately Black borough.
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"Knowing what racism is like, experiencing it, living it, and we turn around, not me, but others, other Black people turn around and do that to someone else? Of another race? That's despicable," Roadcloud said.
Councilmember Learin Johnson and Yeadon Council President Sharon Council-Harris denied Roadcloud's claims and said their decision to fire Paparo had nothing to do with his race.
"This is not about race," Council-Harris said. "I hired him in 2017 with four other counselors here, taking over three African American males that we did not hire. We hired him."
Instead, they said they fired Paparo because he mismanaged funds with hundreds of thousands of dollars spent on police overtime and violated terms of the police collective bargaining agreement by allowing part-time officers to work 6,000 hours more than the agreement permits.
"Deliberately violated the contract, costing the Borough $387,000 from the general fund, not from his budget," Council-Harris said.
Before the vote, Paparo defended his actions, saying the overtime hours went to training new officers and covering shifts during the pandemic and the George Floyd protest.
Paparo also denied that he mismanaged funds and claimed he was being targeted because of his race.
“I have been hearing these rumors for a long time,” Paparo said. “And I had individuals come to me and tell me that the reason I was being terminated was because of my race. That they wanted a Black chief here.”
During a council meeting on February 10, Yeadon residents, the majority of them Black, showed support for Paparo, believing him to be the right man for the job.
“I couldn’t get any help from anybody,” one woman said. “I have had nothing but help from Chief Paparo since he’s been here.”
During the meeting on February 10, Council-Harris called for a recess twice and argued that Paparo’s supporters who showed up didn’t represent the entire Yeadon community.
“Give him an opportunity to respond officially to the issues of $387,000 that was lost under his watch,” Council-Harris said during that meeting. “And so, you know, he has an opportunity now.”
Following the decision Thursday night, Paparo’s attorney said he plans on filing a federal lawsuit against the councilmembers who fired him.
"It's destroying my wife. It's destroying my kids," Paparo said. "My career doesn't end like this. It doesn't like this."
While the council voted in a new police chief, it was unclear whether or not he was sworn in.