A Texas police chief resigned unexpectedly Monday, June 26, amid fallout from the controversial arrest of a local beauty queen earlier this year.
News of Commerce Police Chief Kerry Crews resignation came during a City Council meeting Monday night when the law firm tasked with investigating the May arrest of Carmen Ponder presented its findings, local station Fox4 reported.
Ponder, crowned Miss Black Texas in 2016, claims her arrest was racially motivated and accused Crews of calling her a “Black b-tch” outside a Walmart following an alleged road rage incident. The pre-law student had initially misidentified Crews as the passenger she had gotten into a dispute with after she pulled into the grocery store parking lot.
The actual passenger turned out to be local Commerce ISD school board trustee Michael Beane, who was teaching his 14-year-old daughter how to drive, according to The Dallas Morning News.
Ponder was later arrested and charged with evading detention after Crews became engaged in the parking lot conflict. The charge was ultimately dropped, according to the news station, but an independent investigation concluded that the 23-year-old’s arrest had nothing to do with race.
Though Crews was not present at Monday’s meeting, the mayor read a statement on his behalf.
“It was my understanding that officers had been called [to the scene], but I felt that it was something that I could handle. I was wrong,” the former police chief wrote. “As a result of being off duty, I was unprepared for the response I received from Ms. Ponder and I became emotional.”
Crews said it was the stress and burden of the job since Ponder’s arrest that ultimately led him to step down as police chief.
He won’t be out of a job long, however. Fox4 reported that Crews continues working for the city in the newly created position of assistant to the city manager.
“This is an exciting time to be in Commerce,” he wrote. “And I am excited to continue to be able to contribute to the city in this new role.”
Despite Crews’ resignation, Ponder and her attorney are still pursuing legal action. They still believe his actions were racially motivated and argued that the charges filed against Ponder was unfounded.