Wichita city government in chaos as mayor and ex-police chief accuse each other of misconduct
Police Tape (AFP)

On Wednesday, The Wichita Eagle reported that the mayor of Wichita, Brandon Whipple, and the former police chief, Gordon Ramsay, are trading accusations of misconduct in an escalating fight that began with allegations of mishandled racial incidents within the police department.

"In a letter hand-delivered Wednesday by a former deputy chief, Ramsay, without offering evidence, accused city officials of wrongdoing and said there was a 'troubled culture' at the top levels of city hall," reported Michael Stavola. "He urged the City Council and mayor to have a forthcoming third-party investigation into police also look into complaints of corruption against human resources director Chris Bezruki and into police discipline cases that Bezruki overturned, without being specific."

Whipple has fired back, calling Ramsay a "disgruntled ex-employee" and saying that his motivations are questionable.

"The third-party investigation, and the internal committee that released the report criticizing Ramsay, were announced the day after The Eagle detailed the racist and inappropriate messages sent by Wichita officers and the lack of punishment," said the report. "The only officer suspended was one who called Ramsay a tool. Ramsay, in the letter, said Bezruki’s presence on the committee was a 'flagrant conflict of interest.' The committee report found that the police department did not 'fully engage the City Human Resource Department and Law Department in their review of this misconduct.'"

This is just the latest in a series of high-profile controversies at police departments around the country.

Last year, Miami Police Chief Art Acevedo was ousted by the city council after he antagonized the city government by claiming they were run by a "Cuban Mafia" — in a move that later turned out to have had the support of the far-right Proud Boys. And in New Jersey, the former Republican mayor of Clark Township was caught on tape saying racial slurs in a conversation with the police chief, after the city had tried to pay to silence a whistleblower from coming forward.