The mayor of a small Washington state city told a police officer named "Jose" to use the name "Joseph" in interactions with the public to avoid a name the mayor deemed "too Hispanic," according to an allegation made at a Tuesday City Council meeting. A video of the Tonasket, Washington, City Council meeting published by the Omak-Okanogan County Chronicle shows former Officer Jose Perez telling council members that Mayor Dennis Brown had previously said to him, "I changed your name from 'Jose' to 'Joseph,' because 'Jose' sounds too stereotypical ... It sounds too Hispanic."
Brown told the Spokesman-Review on Thursday that the allegations were not true: “I asked him what he would prefer to be called. He didn’t say anything at the time,” the publication reports.
In the video of the meeting, Brown offers several explanations, saying that Perez "goes by both" names and that Joseph is "just (a) translation."
Brown disbanded the town's small police department — which included Perez — last week, leaving residents to rely on the Okanogan County sheriff's office for limited law enforcement, The Spokesman-Review reports.
During the meeting, Perez alleges that Brown told him to introduce himself to the public as "Joseph" and that he corrected Perez when he used his real name in an interaction with a citizen.
Brown has faced votes of no confidence and calls for his resignation from council members, the Chronicle reported Thursday .
"Asking Jose Perez to refer to himself as Joseph is appalling," Councilwoman Jill Ritter said.
"Your answers to questions from this council and the public have not been consistent or truthful at times," Ritter said. "I will not allow your lies to drag me and this council down and reflect poorly on all of us."
Brown did not immediately respond to a request for comment from USA TODAY.