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Chattanooga activist plans to appeal library's decision to fire him after books burned

Chattanooga activist plans to appeal library's decision to fire him after books burned

A Chattanooga Public Library employee is now out of a job after admitting to burning library books by conservative authors.

The library says community activist Cameron Williams violated their policies by removing the books from their collection.

We spoke with Williams, who claims he did nothing wrong.

Williams — or 'C-Grimey' as he’s known in the community — says he and his attorney plan to appeal the library’s decision to fire him.

That’s after he admitted he took certain pieces of literature and later burned them, but claims they were already set to be removed.

Williams has been one of the lead voices for the Black Lives Matter movement in Chattanooga.

He is focused on having an impact before the local elections in March.

“People who we believe will advocate for the community, for Black people, for Latino people, for poor people,” he says.

In this September 2, 2020 photo, Cameron Williams speaks through a megaphone to fellow protesters during a demonstration outside Hamilton County Jail in Chattanooga. (Image: WTVC file photo)

But this week, part of his attention has been taken by losing a job.

“I was told I could take them. On my life, I was told that,” says Williams.

The downtown Chattanooga Library fired Williams after an investigation by City HR.

The report says he “improperly removed items” from the Library’s collections, violating policy.

“The City of Chattanooga has policies in place to protect the public’s interest, and we follow those directives,” said Library Executive Director Corinne Hill.

Williams was suspended in December after he admitted to taking books with conservative commentary, and later burning them on social media.

“Books that had misinformation, outdated information,” he told us.

(Image: WTVC file photo)

Williams says he’s appealing the decision, because he says he only took books already removed from circulation.

He says he was given permission to do so.

On the other side, the library says it was his job to 'weed' out certain books to remove — but not the ones he took.

“It’s all word of mouth. It doesn’t exist. It wasn’t in black and white, in the weeding training,” says Williams.

Meanwhile, the city chief of staff says no appeal has been filed yet. They have no further comment.

People on our Facebook page, however, have plenty to say.

Some responded to the news by saying that “he needs to pay for those books.”

Others said the “books shouldn’t be burned.”

The City says Williams is allowed to appeal the decision as long as it is within 15 days.


 

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