An Arizona police chief once described by the town’s own mayor as a “Nazi” has now been fired more than two years after a famous YouTube video showed him frog-marching a woman out of a town-hall meeting.
The town council of Quartzsite, Ariz., unanimously terminated the contract of Police Chief Jeff Gilbert Tuesday, but agreed to a severance package that one source said is worth $116,000.
ParkerLive reports: “Gilbert had been the center of controversy in Quartzsite for some time, with some residents accusing him of targeting them with politically motivated arrests. The situation spiralled when Jennifer Jones, a local newspaper publisher, was removed from a council meeting by Gilbert. The video of the event was seen thousands of times on YouTube, bringing national press coverage to the town and attention on Chief Gilbert. The resulting furor even prompted a protest rally organized by a Constitution-centered organization called Oath Keepers, with the town’s mayor Ed Foster leading the march.”
Foster, a retired Marine and former engineer for Wrigley Chewing Gum, told WND in 2011 the town council and police department were filled with corruption.
“He’s just an insane person, that chief of police,” the mayor said of Gilbert. “He’s a Nazi … he’s completely out of control. He thinks he’s running the town.”
WND sought comment from Gilbert numerous times to no avail at the height of the controversy.
Foster said at the time it wasn’t just the police chief, but also the town manager and tax collector who were creating a terrifying atmosphere.
“People in town are scared to death of them,” he said. “It’s just a clear pattern of harassment and intimidation by this government. These people have run this town like they owned it. It’s got to be fixed and I’m not going to quit until I see them in jail.”
The mayor said the council has even precluded him from examining the payroll. He believes he’s uncovered some possible financial wrongdoing involving checks being paid to unknown personnel, and he speculates the recipients could be councilmembers themselves.
“They’re playing a sleight-of-hand with federal money,” Foster said. “I’ve tried to get the FBI, the governor and attorney general involved, and no one has paid attention. But since this video, people are asking, ‘What’s going on in Quartzsite?'”
The town of Quartzsite is located some two hours by car west of Phoenix, at the intersection of Interstate 10 and U.S. Highway 95.
“There’s nothing but jack-rabbits and coyotes here,” noted the mayor. “We’re in the middle of nowhere, 40 miles from the nearest Walmart.”
Foster called previous councilmembers “idiots depriving people of their First Amendment rights.”
“I got 1,200 emails [in one day],” he said, as the YouTube video skyrocketed in 2011. “All of a sudden, everyone’s commenting. If I were them, I’d be scared to death.”
Below is video of Police Chief Gilbert warning the town council in January 2011 about some of the local residents: