Community members speak out after firing of Panama City police officer

Published: Nov. 18, 2020 at 10:35 PM CST
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On November 12th during the arrest of Calvin Pittman at the Chapman Head Start Center, Panama City officials say an incident happened between Pittman and a Panama City police officer.

After the incident was reviewed, the officer was fired.

But community members say despite the officer’s termination they believe the incident shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

“One incident is too much,” said NWFL Minority Business Chamber of Commerce Vice President Tony Bostick. “It doesn’t matter if they’re black or white. Right is right and wrong is wrong.”

Panama City Police say they are working closely with the State Attorney’s office as the case goes on and Chief Assistant State Attorney Larry Basford says the department has filed a complaint for battery.

Community members say moving forward they want more open dialogue between Panama City Police and the State Attorney’s office.

“We just want to see better relations between law enforcement, better relations between community groups, better relations between us as a family here in Bay County,” said Bostick. “We’re a small county and a small city and we’re only as good or as strong as our weakest link.”

Panama City Police Chief Scott Ervin says he is prepared to release details once the investigation is over as he said in a statement, “Based on the dynamics of this situation, it’s important that we address the officer’s and community’s concerns as quickly as we are able to. At this time, due to the continuing investigation, I am legally unable to comment on this matter any further. I will share the findings of the investigation following the conclusion.”

As the investigation goes on, citizens are calling for unity to make sure these types of incidents don’t happen again.

“Unity is what matters and we must therefore come together as a community in order to say, ‘Enough is enough,’” said Bostick.

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