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Staff photo by Troy Stolt / Protester C-Grimey addresses demonstrators in the courtyard of College Hill Courts during a demonstration on Wednesday, June 3, 2020, in Chattanooga, Tenn., protesting the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Local activist and rapper Cameron "C-Grimey" Williams was fired from the Chattanooga Public Library on Wednesday after allegedly burning library books by conservative authors.

Williams, known for his role organizing protests last year against police brutality, was placed on paid administrative leave from his role at the library in December after video surfaced of him apparently burning books by then-President Donald Trump and conservative commentator Ann Coulter.

(READ MORE Chattanooga library suspends protest leader C-Grimey to investigate burning of conservative books)

Williams, a part-time library specialist who worked at the downtown library for two years, was fired after a hearing late last week, according to a news release from a library spokesperson.

"The City of Chattanooga Human Resources Department completed its investigation of an allegation that books were removed from the Chattanooga Public Library's Main Branch on Dec. 1, 2020," the release states. "The investigation determined that [Williams] violated City and Library policies by improperly removing items from the Library's collections."

In a video posted temporarily on Instagram, Williams appeared to burn copies of Coulter's "How to Talk to a Liberal (If You Must)" and Trump's "Crippled America" in an outdoor fire, spraying each with lighter fluid. "FDT," a Trump protest song by YG and Nipsey Hussle, played in the background.

"The City of Chattanooga has policies in place to protect the public's interest, and we follow those directives," Library Executive Director Corinne Hill said in the release Wednesday.

A spokesperson for the library said in December that removing library books based on personal feelings violated the library's policy against censorship.

Williams told the Times Free Press Wednesday that he did remove the books in question, but that he didn't violate any policy in doing so.

Still, Williams said his attorney tried to work out a deal with the library where he could return books still in his possession and refund the money for those that "could not be returned," but the city declined. Williams believes his firing is a show of political retaliation and racism from the library and the community member who reported him.

"That wasn't good enough, which leads me to believe that this had nothing to do with the books being missed, and had to do with whatever reason they were looking for to get rid of me," he said.

"I really believe that this was political. It's definitely a perpetuation of white supremacy. None of this would have never ever ever been a problem if someone who doesn't believe in me speaking for equality for Black people wouldn't have reported it."

Contact Sarah Grace Taylor at staylor@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6416. Follow her on Twitter @_sarahgtaylor.

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