TONASKET, WA (AP) — City government in the tiny town of Tonasket, Washington is in turmoil after a police officer came forward with allegations that the mayor wanted him to start using the name “Joseph” because “Jose” sounded too Hispanic.
The situation prompted the mayor to disband the small police department, and for City Council members to demand the mayor resign.
The issue blew up at a City Council meeting Tuesday in the Okanogan County town of about 1,100 people.
Former Officer Jose Perez told the council that Mayor Dennis Brown asked him to stop using the name Jose when he had interactions with city residents.
For reasons unexplained, Brown last week disbanded the three-person Tonasket Police Department, prompting calls for his resignation.
Disbanding the police department left the Okanogan County sheriff’s office as the only law enforcement agency in the remote region about 250 miles northeast of Seattle near Omak.