COLBERT, Okla. — The Colbert City Council accepted the resignation of Interim Police Chief Bart Alsbrook and appointed assistant chief David Peterson to the post on Friday afternoon. The unanimous decision was made during a special city council meeting that was announced Thursday afternoon.
Alsbrook’s resignation follows the discovery of ties to neo-Nazi and white supremacist organizations and websites by KXII last weekend. On Tuesday, two documentaries from 2003 and 2005 surfaced that feature Alsbrook talking about his beliefs and connections to the organizations.
In text messages to the Herald Democrat Thursday evening, Alsbrook said he officially resigned from the police department Tuesday and admitted to his past connection to the groups. However, he said he broke ties with them about 15 years ago.
“Left all that racist stuff behind me 15 years ago,” Alsbrook said via text message Thursday. “Been helping people ever since. I have a clean record so I volunteered to be an unpaid police officer a few years back.”
The council voted unanimously to accept the resignation, with council Member Terry Bell making the motion. There was no discussion by the council prior or following the motion and vote. The council then went into closed, executive session to discuss appointing an interim chief.
Only a few minutes later the council returned to open session and voted to appoint Peterson to the interim chief position in a 3-1 vote, with Mayor Roxanne Reed as the dissenting vote. When asked for comment regarding her dissenting vote, Reed declined to comment.
Reed also declined to comment at all on the controversy surrounding Alsbrook, the police department and the city. Reed said the city would not be commenting further to the news media. Reed said she and city officials had previously had comments taken out of context, Additionally, she said there was too much focus on the controversy and not on positive stories within the city.
“I know that by us not saying something, it gives the impression that there is something to hide, but that is not the case,” she said, prior to Friday’s meeting.
She added that if people wish to know what is going on within the town, they can attend the council meetings each month.
When asked for details on Peterson’s past, the number of police officers in the Colbert Police Department and other details about the new appointment, Colbert Spokesperson Jerry Harrel declined to comment.
For his part, Peterson said he was unable to give an interview, but said he has been a certified peace officer since 2005 and has previously worked in Antlers, Oklahoma and Pushmataha County. Peterson was hired as assistant police chief just a few weeks ago during the same meeting that the council appointed Alsbrook as police chief.
Alsbrook first came under fire when KXII tracked down documents that tied him to ISD Records and NS88 Video, two websites that sell neo-Nazi music and memorabilia. In August, the Southern Poverty Law Center updated its Hate Map, a listing of hate organizations, following white supremacist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia. The update included a listing for ISD Records and placed the organization in Denison, where Alsbrook lives.
Initially, Alsbrook denied having ties with the websites and said a group of skinheads stole his driver’s license during a heavy metal concert in the 1990s and have since used his name to start hate groups and websites. However, earlier this week two films, entitled “White Terror” and “Skinhead Attitude” surfaced that showed Alsbrook describing his involvement with hate groups affiliated with the Blood & Honour movement. The existence of the documentaries was first reported by the Herald Democrat.
“The reason I became a skinhead was I had originally been a member of the Republican Party and always had what would be considered a right wing point of view on politics and the social environment,” Alsbrook says, in “Skinhead Attitude.”
During the second film, “White Terror” Alsbrook is seen mailing and distributing DVDs and CDs of hate music and material from his home in Denison.
The SPLC described Blood & Honour as an network of neo-Nazi music promotions that was founded by Ian Stuart Donaldson, frontman for the band Skrewdriver, who is also the namesake for ISD records. A related group, Combat 88, is often described as the militant wing of Blood & Honour, Alsbrook says in the documentaries.
During the text interview Thursday, Alsbrook said it was time that ultimately lead him to break away from the organizations.
“I think a person should question their views every day,” he said.