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Firing of town's first black police chief leads to turmoil

Published:Monday | August 3, 2015 | 2:28 PM

Residents of a small town on Maryland's Eastern Shore are continuing to vent their frustrations and concerns about the ouster of the town's first black police chief.

Two local pastors who support former Pocomoke City Police Chief Kevin Sewell were scheduled to address the City Council yesterday evening, followed by comments from other residents.

Sewell says he was dismissed for refusing city officials' demands that he fire two fellow black officers who filed complaints saying they had been treated unfairly.

"Basically, they said they wanted me to resign," said Sewell, who told officials they would have to fire him.

"I didn't do anything wrong," Sewell said. He said officials told him he was fired because of incompetence.

After Sewell's firing, some residents of the town, which bills itself as 'The Friendliest Town on the Eastern Shore', began a petition to have him reinstated and called for the ouster of Mayor Bruce Morrison, who is white.

Sewell joined the Pocomoke City Police Department in 2010 after retiring from the Baltimore Police Department and was promoted to chief in 2011. He filed a complaint earlier this year with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claiming he was not given a contract and was paid much less than his white predecessors. Sewell is now amending the complaint to add that he was fired for refusing to fire Officers Franklin L. Savage and Lynell Green.