Mayor, Councilman Also Resign Amid Backlash Over Internet Postings
SNYDER, Okla. (Sept.
- The police chief, the mayor and a councilman from
this small, southwestern Oklahoma town resigned Friday, saying they were fed
up with the public attention and criticism they received after the chief's
wife appeared in various nude poses on a Web site and the photos began
circulating around town.
(Thank the lord they didn't post the "nude" pics)
"This has turned into a media circus," Chief Tod Ozmun said Friday. "I don't
feel like me staying in office is going to benefit my department or my
staff. This has turned into a mess. This is ridiculous, absolutely ridiculous."
Dozens of local residents had called for Ozmun's resignation, but the City
Council decided last week that Doris Ozmun's adult pictures were protected by
the First Amendment. A prosecutor had called for an investigation.
The chief read a statement from Clifford Barnard, the councilman who
"The citizens' concerns that we were not enforcing religious and moral
beliefs was very heartfelt and I don't want to be associated with their moral or
religious beliefs because I've never read anywhere in the Good Book that the
Lord wanted us to persecute those that did not hold the same morals or
Mayor Dale Moore also resigned.
"I think this is wrong and I won't put up with it," he told The Oklahoman.
"I don't want to work in a community like this."
Shirely Anderson, who served as Snyder's mayor for five years until 1995 and
whose husband, Billy Ray Anderson, was mayor for eight years before that,
has been critical of the chief and his wife.
"They have no morals as far as I'm concerned," said Shirley Anderson.
"That's the whole thing I think - morals. You should have respectable people in
office. They need to go somewhere else where this is accepted."
Earlier Friday, the chief said the whole issue involving his 43-year-old
wife had been blown out of proportion.
"People in this country do what she does on a daily basis," he said. "It's
absolutely ludicrous. Makes no sense at all."
He said he has had lengthy discussions with his wife about the photos but
does not tell her what to do.
"My wife is 6-foot-3 and weighs 300 pounds," he said. "If there is somebody
that thinks they can control her, have at it. I have tried for 11 years and
haven't been able to."
Demands for his removal reached a head at a packed City Council meeting last
week. Council members met in executive session and Moore emerged with a
statement saying no laws had been broken:
"As Mayor and council of the city of Snyder ... we do not endorse
pornography; however, we do endorse an individual's rights under the First Amendment of
freedom and _expression."
But the bad feelings over the photos continued.
"I understand that it's probably not against the law. But you have to say
it's a bad thing," Jim Toma, owner of Toma Discount Food, said Thursday at his
store one block away from City Hall.
Cristen Edgar, a 16-year-old student at Snyder High School, also felt
strongly about the issue.
"I don't think it's right for him to be the chief of police and for his wife
to be doing what she's doing," Edgar said.
"They were vulgar," Larry Dismore, owner of Larry's Drugs in Snyder said of
the photos, some showing the chief's wife with an American flag draped off
Tod Ozmun, 34, chief since January 2005, said he first met his wife 11 years
ago. He said she is his former police partner.
He said conservative Oklahoma attitudes have a lot to do with all the
attention being paid to his wife's photos.
"It's only the narrow-minded people that will scream the loudest," he said.
"I'm from Hawaii originally. Oklahoma is a different kind of place. We were
one of the last states in the nation to legalize tattooing."
He said he has received hundreds of e-mails, with about 70 percent from
people who say he has been unfairly criticized.
Doris Ozmun, who was paroled in March 2005 after spending two years in the
state prison system on drug-related charges, has an unlisted telephone number
and has not been at her place of employment to comment.
She earlier told The Oklahoman she had decided to remove the photos from the
"I just don't understand," she told the newspaper. "I could if I had done
something illegal, or if I had murdered someone. But this is amazing.
"You know what I call this? I call this a witch-hunt."
Kiowa County District Attorney John Wampler has asked the Oklahoma State
Bureau of Investigation to look into the matter. Wampler has said the photos
would not be protected under the First Amendment if they could be shown to meet
the legal threshold for impermissible obscenity.
"In my opinion, the photos that I was shown are obscene based on local
community standards," he said. "Whether a court would agree may be a different
09/08/06 14:05 EDT