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Fire Chief Draws Fine for Disrupting Town Meeting

February 6, 1990

SHAW, Miss. (AP) _ A municipal judge has fined the fire chief $100 after he refused to apologize for allegedly making noises and faces during a Board of Aldermen meeting.

″If I was wrong, I’d apologize. But I’m not wrong. I was right. I won’t apologize,″ Chief Kenneth Pirtle said Monday night after Municipal Judge Kenneth Thomas found him guilty of disturbing the peace.

Pirtle said he intended to appeal the decision to Bolivar County Court. The fire chief remains free on $150 bond pending appeal.

Thomas told Pirtle that he would waive the fine ″for the sake of the citizens of Shaw″ if Pirtle would apologize in court or at the regularly scheduled board meeting Tuesday night.

Mayor Gregory Flippins and two of the town’s five aldermen, Diana Drake and Herman Love, testified that the fire chief made noises and faces as he left the board meeting on Jan. 2. They also accused Pirtle of calling the mayor names.

″He made a sound ... like a blubbering sound, like a person is making when they’re sticking their tongue out of their mouth. A gagging type,″ Flippins testified. ″He turned around at the door, stuck his tongue out, making a blabbering sound and wagging his tongue.″

Drake also testified the Pirtle ″stuck his hands in his ears and said, ’Oooh-ooh,″ a remark that drew giggles from those in the courtroom.

Pirtle and three volunteer firefighters in this town of 2,500 residents, disputed that testimony. Public Works Director Evereth Stanton, also a volunteer firefighter, testified he didn’t see who made the noise.

Pirtle also denied calling the mayor names.

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