The simple answer is NO, in the shoulda woulda coulda sense that things should not have come to this pass:
Columbia police chief’s job in jeopardy
Carter’s refusal to hand over crash probe to outside agency angers City Council
By ADAM BEAM and NOELLE PHILLIPS – email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
Columbia Police Chief Tandy Carter, who has been staring down City Council over his decision to investigate Mayor-elect Steve Benjamin’s car accident, could lose his job next week.
Carter refused to hand over the investigation to an outside agency against the wishes of City Council, which is concerned about the public’s perception of special treatment. But the tipping point seems to be Carter’s request for a state attorney general’s opinion regarding what City Council can and cannot tell him to do.
“I just need to think about this whole situation on requesting an AG opinion on whether or not I have the authority to direct him to do something,” said city manager Steve Gantt, who under state law is the police chief’s supervisor. “I have to figure out what in the world he is thinking about and make a decision on what I think is in the long-term best interest for the city of Columbia.”…
But I wonder what choice Steve Gantt and City Council will have going forward. Gantt says he’s been asking the chief to request an outside review of the case for two weeks. Now, he’s going to tell him to do it.
Meanwhile, Chief Carter is asking the state attorney general to rule on whether his bosses can tell him what to do. Which is really, really weird.
Yes, I know that Columbia’s system of government diffuses and confuses the lines of accountability, but this is just too wild.
I hate that we may be about to lose a good police chief over this — and by most accounts, he has been a good chief at a time when Columbia needed one — but his behavior in this case has puzzled me from the start.
Mind you, I am sympathetic to his insistence on letting the duly sworn cops with jurisdiction in the case do their jobs. Normally, I say the same thing: When Congress starts calling for a special prosecutor, I always wish they’d let the FBI or whoever just investigate and be the professionals they are. But this case was especially sensitive. It happened to the soon-to-be mayor with whom Chief Carter was publicly disagreeing just a week before.
I could see myself saying, “Dammit, I know I’m a professional who can do his job with integrity, and I don’t care what anyone says.” But there are larger things than the professional pride of the police — such as the good of the city. And the good of the city required that any whiff of doubt about interest in this case be eliminated from the start.
And that didn’t happen. And the chief dug in. And the chief ignored the wishes of his bosses for two weeks. Why, I don’t know. But I also don’t know how they can sit still for it.