ABBEVILLE, Ala. (WDHN) — Abbeville Police Chief Noel Vanlandingham has been terminated after a hearing resulted in members of the city council voting to fire him.
The decision came after a hearing Monday afternoon when Abbeville Mayor Billy Helms called on council members to vote “Yea” to terminating the suspended police chief.
District 4 Councilwoman Rena’ Cosby, District 5 Councilman Harold Robison, Jr., Mayor Pro-Tempore and District 2 Councilman Brendt Murphy, and Mayor Helms all voted to terminate Vanlandingham.
Following the vote, Vanlandingham spoke to several supporters outside City Hall:
“All of y’all work with me, it’s been a pleasure,” Vanlandingham said. “It’s very unfortunate that we have so-called leaders of the City of Abbeville that are going to go on personal vendettas. I want to say, the ones that still work here, stay strong. The ones that have come to support me, we’re going to be back. We’re going to come back, they ain’t going to knock us down. Stay strong and know I love each and every one of y’all. It’s been a pleasure serving with y’all. Just remember, the buck dies in August. Put the word out because what they did in there is wrong. All lies. Wrong. But that’s OK. God bless them all. We’ve got somebody on our side that I have a feeling they don’t.”
Vanlandingham’s attorney Dusty Fowler criticized city leaders for holding the meeting during a pandemic and after Vanlandingham’s request for continuance.
“They endangered everybody here,” Fowler said. “The bottom line is they were going to do this and fire Noel Vandlandingham come hell or high water. This was nothing but a witch hunt.”
Fowler went on to say the meeting-turned termination was in retaliation after Vanlandingham’s legal team filed a federal lawsuit:
“They (the council) got mad and it was time to get even. (They) put everybody in danger, shut everybody out. Look at all these people out here. They couldn’t go in because there’s a pandemic and they (the council) knew it. That’s why we had this tonight. People dying in the streets, but this council was Hades-bent to have this tonight so all these supporters couldn’t be in there and the truth be heard about Chief Vanlandingham. That is exactly why they did this. I’ve never seen much of a joke as what we’ve got tonight. This was nothing but grab your pitchfork, light your torches, we’re going to get him.”
WDHN will continue updating this story as more information becomes available.