2 Mississippi Police Officers Fired After Brutally Beating, Kicking Black Man

Breanna Edwards,

Screenshot: WJTV-TV

Two Mississippi officers were swiftly given the boot after being accused of brutally beating up a black man last week for avoiding a police checkpoint.

According to ABC News, 36-year-old James Barnett was chased by officers after he reached a vehicle checkpoint and turned around. After a short chase, Barnett was pulled over, and the officers ran up to his vehicle with their guns already drawn.

The officers from the Laurel, Miss., Police Department ordered Barnett to the ground, which he readily complied with, but that’s when they began kicking him in the head and face with steel-toe shoes, Barnett said.

“I wouldn’t wish this on NOBODY!! One even had the nerve to ask me how did those steel toes feel boy, trying to get a rise out of me, but I just laid there and prayed!!” Barnett wrote in a Facebook post showing his injuries. “I’ve never been so afraid in my life, 6 white cops surrounded my bed taunting me as if the assault wasnt enough!! I will not let this go, I dont this to happen to anyone else. There is no justice in what they did to me!! But I will get JUSTICE!!”

The photos show one side of his face swollen and red with scratches and bruises all over.

Not only that—Barnett claimed that after police took him to South Central Regional Medical Center, he was beaten up more. To add insult to injury, officers charged him with five misdemeanors, including resisting arrest and driving on a suspended license.

However, according to the Laurel Police Department, a supervisor on duty saw that there was a problem with the arrest and handed the case over to the department’s internal-affairs team, who launched an investigation mere hours after the incident occurred. By the next day, the officers, who remain unidentified, were fired.

The Police Department also noted that it has been communicating with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation about possibly pressing additional charges against the officers.

“The Officers and Administration of LPD take these types of allegations very seriously,” the LPD said in a statement to ABC News. “It should be noted that the [internal affairs invesigation] was initiated only hours after the incident occurred before any media attention, social media posts or even a formal complaint from the individual involved.”

 

, “2 Mississippi Police Officers Fired After Brutally Beating, Kicking Black Man”, https://www.theroot.com/2-mississippi-police-officers-fired-after-brutally-beat-1826267480

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2 Mississippi police officers fired after alleged police brutality incident

In this May 18, 2018 photograph taken from news video, James Barnett of Laurel, Miss., shows the injuries he allegedly sustained after two Laurel police officers pursued and arrested him after he turned around from a police checkpoint May 16.

(Shakari Briggs/WDAM-TV, via AP) In this May 18, 2018 photograph taken from news video, James Barnett of Laurel, Miss., shows the injuries he allegedly sustained after two Laurel police officers pursued and arrested him after he turned around from a police checkpoint May 16.

Two Mississippi police officers could be facing additional charges after they were terminated by the Laurel Police Department (LPD) for allegedly beating 36-year-old James Barnett last week.

Barnett was pursued by officers after reaching a vehicle checkpoint and turning around in Jasper County. Following a short chase, Barnett was pulled over and the officers approached his car with their guns drawn, according to Barnett.

Police told Barnett to get down on the ground and when he did, they began kicking him, Barnett said to ABC News.

Barnett also claimed that he never fought back.

 In this May 18, 2018, photograph taken from news video, James Barnett of Laurel, Miss., shows the injuries he allegedly sustained after two Laurel police officers pursued and arrested him after he turned around from a police checkpoint May 16.

(Shakari Briggs/WDAM-TV, via AP)  In this May 18, 2018, photograph taken from news video, James Barnett of Laurel, Miss., shows the injuries he allegedly sustained after two Laurel police officers pursued and arrested him after he turned around from a police checkpoint May 16.

The police then transported him to the South Central Regional Medical Center, where he was beaten more, Barnett claimed.

The police charged him with five misdemeanors, including resisting arrest and driving with a suspended license.

Barnett posted pictures of his alleged abuse on his Facebook page last week.

“I’ve never been so afraid in my life,” Barnett wrote in the Facebook post. “I will not let this go, I don’t [want] this to happen to anyone else. There is no justice in what they did to me!! But I will get JUSTICE!!

The supervisor on duty realized that there was a problem with the arrest that occurred, according to the Laurel Police Department. The department’s Internal Affairs (IA) began investigating hours after the incident occurred and the next day the officers, who were not named, were fired.

The police department has been in contact with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations (MBI) on the possibility of pressing additional charges against the involved officers.

“The Officers and Administration of LPD take these types of allegations very seriously,” the Laurel Police Department said in a statement to ABC News. “It should be noted that the IA was initiated only hours after the incident occurred before any media attention, social media posts or even a formal complaint from the individual involved.”

JOSIAH BATES, May 22, 2018, abcnews.com, “2 Mississippi police officers fired after alleged police brutality incident”, https://abcnews.go.com/US/mississippi-police-officers-fired-alleged-police-brutality-incident/story?id=55355629

2 MS officers fired amid claims of police brutality

By Chris Thies, Shakari Briggs, and Quametra Wilborn | May 21, 2018 at 5:23 PM CDT – Updated August 14 at 2:30 AM

LAUREL, MS (WDAM) – Two Laurel police officers have been terminated from the department following an internal investigation into allegations of police brutality.

LPD Capt. Tommy Cox and Laurel Mayor Johnny Magee held a news conference Monday morning to address the allegations made by 36-year-old James Barnett, who claims the officers repeatedly kicked him in the face.

Barnett said the encounter started when he turned around from a police checkpoint in Laurel during the early morning hours of Wednesday, May 16. Barnett led officers on a high-speed chase from Laurel to Heidelberg, about 20 miles away.

Barnett admitted he was wrong for running from the officers but said he didn’t deserve what happened next.

EXCLUSIVE: Man accuses Laurel PD of police brutality

“As I was getting out, they had their guns drawn on me telling me to get out with my hands out and get on the ground,” Barnett said of the two LPD officers. “So, I laid flat on the ground, face down (and) they came up continuously kicking me in my face.”

Barnett said he feels the attack was racially motivated, and he feared for his life at the hands of the officers.

He also claims the harassment didn’t stop on the side of the road. Barnett said the officers continued to taunt him after he was taken to a hospital for treatment.

“I (was) nervous, because I’m thinking it’s going to be the end of my life in there,” he said describing moments laying in the hospital bed surrounded by six officers. “So, I played like I was sleep— my eyes closed.”

According to Cox, LPD’s internal investigation was launched just hours after the incident.

“It became apparent to the supervisors on duty that there was a problem with the manner in which the arrest occurred,” said Cox. “It has always been the policy of LPD that all use of force events are reviewed by several levels of supervisors and administration.”

Cox said the investigation concluded the following day and the two officers in question were subsequently fired.

“We have handled the situation as we do. It’s said that police can’t police themselves, but in certain instances, they can, and this is evidence of that,” Magee said.

According to Cox, LPD has been in contact with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation to look into the possibility of criminal charges against the officers. Cox said LPD is cooperating fully with that investigation.

Cox said the names of the officers, body camera and dash camera footage will not be released at this time because of the ongoing investigation.

Barnett is still recovering from his injuries. He claims he was beaten so badly, he is currently unable to work and has to have surgery on his eye.

Barnett was charged with resisting arrest, which he says he pleaded guilty to during his initial court appearance. He said he plans to fight that charge in court on June 11.

Chris Thies, Shakari Briggs, and Quametra Wilborn | May 21, 2018, WDAM, “2 MS officers fired amid claims of police brutality”, http://www.wdam.com/story/38239960/2-ms-officers-fired-amid-claims-of-police-brutality/