Mayor admits to circumventing city council to get pawned police gun back
HOXIE, Ark. (KAIT) – The Hoxie mayor admitted for the first time he went around the city council to get a police gun that was pawned back.
The mayor admitted to the purchase after a heated city council meeting where policy changes were made.
The majority of the city council meeting on Tuesday was spent discussing the now-retired police chief, Glen Smith, and allegations that he sold a police department gun to a pawn shop amid the state investigation, Smith resigned.
“Glen is still innocent to me and if it was up to me, I would still be fighting it,” Coggins said.
According to Coggins, as soon as he found out the gun was in a pawn shop, he went to the shop and paid for the gun, and had Smith pick it up and bring it back to the city; however, there is no proof the city has possession of the gun, except for the mayor’s word.
“How do you go on just your word though? I mean, the gun was missing, and no one knew about it until someone in the public brought it to you,” Region 8 News Anchor and Chief Investigative Reporter Chris Carter said. “How can you guarantee that the gun is here?”
“Well, because he was receipts where we paid for the gun,” Coggins replied.
Coggins stated there are receipts however that contradicts what the city attorney, Nancy Hall, said in response to a public records request.
On August 31st, she wrote “The City is not in possession of any records related to the sale of a police gun to a pawn shop. Nothing can be provided in this regard.”
When questioned about the attorney’s response, Coggins said because he bought the gun, the receipt was not city property.
“The attorney told us there are no receipts for that,” Carter said.
“Oh yes there are,” Coggins replied. “I have receipt of my own personal money that I paid for. It is my receipt.”
“Technically it is the city’s if you paid for it to purchase it for the city,” Carter responded to which Coggins said, “no, I didn’t purchase it for the city.”
When asked clarification if the gun was city property following that comment Coggins responded “I let Glen borrow the money to pay for the gun back. He didn’t have the money at that time.”
Carter followed up by asking if the gun was now in the possession of the city, to which Coggins said “yes”.
Despite attempts by one city council member to change city policy to take away some of the rights of the mayor when it comes to the hiring and firing of department heads, the council tabled it until the city attorney could get answers on the legalities of it.
The mayor told the council he had a new chief ready to replace Glen Smith. During the meeting, he said he “had the votes” for it and told Region 8 News after the meeting he had talked to some of the council members to make sure he had the votes.
The mayor said the new chief is a local who works for another department. He expects to make an announcement this week.
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