SURF CITY, NC (WWAY) — Less than 24 hours after the Surf City police chief retired, the community is showing their support for him.
Tuesday, town leaders held an emergency meeting after former chief Mike Halstead posted an opinionated post on his personal Facebook page. In the post, Halstead said, “This ‘Black Lives Matter’ group is nothing more than an American born terrorist group.” The open letter then goes into a long rant.
Wednesday morning, supporters stood outside the police department with signs and yelled for honks to stand behind Halstead. A man wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt also showed up. He said while he supports freedom of speech, he believes officers and elected officials must be held to a higher standard and does not agree with Halstead at all. (Editor’s note: A previous version of this story said the man supported both causes. He has since clarified his position to WWAY. We apologize for any confusion.)
“I was appalled to be honest with you,” business owner Dorothy Royal said. “This whole thing has happened so quick that nobody, none of the citizens had time to grasp what was going on.”
Royal said she does not think Halstead did anything wrong.
“I think he was venting frustrations and that’s the problem we have today,” Royal said. ” Nobody is hearing the law enforcement side.”
Royal and homeowner Annette Erny both said they want Halstead back, but they do feel confident in the Interim Chief Ron Shanahan.
“We all adore him and trust him to take care of the community, but we’d love to have Chief Halstead back,” Royal said.
Royal said Halstead deserves to come back.
“If it had to do with something that the NAACP was getting involved and they were doing this to prevent any further problems, that’s not okay,” Royal said. “He deserved his right to explain. He deserved his right to talk to the people of this town.”