SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Bishop Talbert Swan’s position as a chaplain with the Springfield Police Department isn’t being renewed, and he says it is due to his criticisms of the department and the commissioner.
Friday morning, Swan released an email he sent to Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood, where he says he was informed that the reason for the decision would be revealed to him when he returned his ID and chaplain’s badge.
Swan, a bishop in the Church of God in Christ, has been publicly critical of the department’s handling of brutality complaints and the discipline of officers. In his email to Clapprood, he specifically referenced the case of Officer Angel Marrero, who late last month was found guilty of charges in connection to a 2018 altercation with a student at the High School of Commerce. Marrero remains employed with the department, pending a discipline recommendation by the Community Police Hearing Board.
“Silencing the voices of those with legitimate grievances against the brutality and corruption that has been corroborated by the Department of Justice seems to be more of a goal than gaining the public trust by weeding out bad cops and changing a culture where the brutalization of Black and brown citizens is commonplace,” Swan wrote.
Springfield Police spokesperson Ryan Walsh told 22News Swan is one of three police chaplains who the department is expecting not to renew, due to lack of participation.
Walsh said that due to interest from other people in a chaplain’s position, the captain who heads the program asked the existing chaplains to re-apply, and their applications were reviewed.
Walsh said that Swan had not attended a meeting or taken part in the program for the last three years.
In his email to Clapprood, Swan said that he is proud of his service to the police department, as well as the community at large.
22News is covering this story, and will bring you the latest information as it becomes available.