SOMERVILLE, TX — Somerville residents are expressing concerns about a potential rehire for the police department. During a city council meeting, protests could be heard from outside.
"I am amazed, and I am very excited that so many people showed up," the mayor said. "This is a tiny town, and I never expected this outpour of support."
The protests pushed for change, and the city council denied the hire of Chauna Sheffield Thompson.
The mayor then demanded the resignation of the city administrator and the police chief. He said if he does not get their resignation, he will hold a special meeting.
Watch the moment here:
Police Chief Craig Wise also ran for Milam County Sheriff in 2020. The city administrator is Ismael Segundo.
In 2017, Chauna Sheffield Thompson, while off-duty, was connected to a murder in Harris County. Three years later she wants to continue her law enforcement career in Somerville, a town of less than 2,000 people.
"Unbelievable. Absolute disbelief," said Somerville resident Carol Freeman.
Chauna, who changed her last name to Sheffield, was indicted for murder after failing to intervene in the death of John Hernandez, who was choked by Sheffield's then-husband Terry Thompson in 2017. After being on life support, Hernandez died.
Terry Thompson was found guilty and is serving a 25-year prison sentence. Now, Somerville's police chief wants to rehire Sheffield as a patrol officer.
"We are trying to not even hire someone, but we trying to rehire her. I don't understand the thought process on the hiring. This is all just unbelievable to me," said Freeman.
To show their disapproval of the potential rehire, community members protested Tuesday's council meeting for two things.
"One, we do not want the reemployment of Chauna Sheffield Thompson. Number two, we are asking that Chief Wise resign because of his bad judgment," said resident Lucinda Murphy. "In the current environment that we are in, we should not even be having this discussion."
A discussion some citizens believe their leadership isn't having.
"We need the right people serving us as officers. We need the right people serving us as a city council to where they will make the right decision, and people don't have to get up in arms to get them to change their mind," said George White of Somerville.
Chief Craig Wise says for months, he's been needing to fill the position, but because it's not a high-paying position, qualified applicant numbers are low.