By TIM TALLEY|
Associated Press Writer
SNYDER, Okla.- The police chief, the mayor and a councilman in this small town resigned Friday amid an uproar over nude photos of the chief's 300-pound, tattooed wife that she posted on a Web site.
Dozens of residents of the town of 1,500 had demanded Police Chief Tod Ozmun resign, and the district attorney recommended an obscenity investigation, but the City Council decided last week that the pictures were protected by the First Amendment.
On Friday, Ozmun, Mayor Dale Moore and Councilman Clifford Barnard said they were stepping down because they were fed up with the public attention and criticism of the chief. Another council member resigned earlier over the council's support of Ozmun.
"This has turned into a media circus," Ozmun said. "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."
Ozmun's 43-year-old wife, Doris, told The Oklahoman newspaper that she was removing the photos from the Internet, and they appeared to have been taken down Friday. "You know what I call this? I call this a witch hunt," she said.
Some of the pictures show her with an American flag draped off her shoulder.
"They have no morals as far as I'm concerned," said Shirley Anderson, who served as mayor in the 1990s and whose husband was mayor before that. "You should have respectable people in office. They need to go somewhere else where this is accepted."
Cristen Edgar, a 16-year-old high school student, said: "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."
The police chief defended his wife, saying, "People in this country do what she does on a daily basis."
He said he has had long 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," said Ozmun, who became chief in January 2005. "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."
In a statement, Barnard said he didn't want to be associated with the police chief's detractors, "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 values."
The mayor told The Oklahoman that he believes the way Ozmun has been treated is wrong, and "I don't want to work in a community like this."
District Attorney John Wampler has asked the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation to look into the matter.
"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 matter."