UNC-Chapel Hill’s top cop has resigned.

Chief David Perry, who came to the university less than two years ago, resigned effective June 30. Rasheem Holland, who has served as acting chief since mid-May, will serve as interim chief while the university searches for Perry’s replacement, the university announced Tuesday.  

The announcement did not include details about why Perry chose to resign or why Holland has been acting chief since mid-May.

Coincidentally, Perry’s resignation fell on the same day as the tenure vote for Nikole Hannah-Jones, where officers forcibly removed Black student protestors from a conference room where the board of trustees had gathered to discuss her tenure request.

In a September 2019 interview with The Daily Tar Heel, Perry spoke about his plans for the university’s police force after the previous chief resigned following the 2018 protests surrounding Silent Sam’s removal.

“I am coming in, hopefully, with this mindset for all, that we are hoping to wipe the slate clean and start over, because I am completely different from the previous administration,” Perry said at the time. “There has never, ever been a police chief here like me, and so I am going to use that as a good thing.”

Whether his claims ended up being true or not, the university has experienced an exceptional two years since he was hired. There was the Silent Sam settlement with the Sons of Confederate Veterans. There were mixed messages regarding potential threats on UNC’s campus. The mishandling of sexual assault cases. There was a drug trafficking operation involving multiple students and alumni. There was also a pandemic and local protests during a national civil rights movement.

During a December 2019 protest against the Silent Sam settlement, then-UNC Black Student Movement (BSM) officer Chris Suggs called out Perry for previously attending a meeting intended for open discussion about being a Black man at UNC. At the meeting, Perry interrupted a student who was criticizing the department’s response to student activists, Suggs said.  

Perry also came under fire in February 2020 for the department’s use of geofencing to collect personal information on anti-racist activists. 

Prior to his arrival at UNC, Perry served as police chief at Florida State University for 16 years. During his time in Tallahassee, he came under scrutiny for tipping off FSU’s football program about a sexual assault allegation against star quarterback Jameis Winston.

George Battle, the vice chancellor for institutional integrity and risk management, says a nationwide search for a new chief will be announced at a later date.

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