Complaint turned over to MBI

Published 8:36 am Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The big news from Tuesday’s Picayune City Council meeting involved City Manager Jim Luke saying the city and the Picayune Police Department was turning over its investigation into allegations of police officer abuse to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations.

At a previous council meeting, Shannon Keys alleged that a Picayune police officer struck a child while the child’s father was being arrested and did not help the child or offer an apology for his actions. Keys said at the July 1 meeting that neighbors had been told to stop photographing and videoing the incident with their smart phones and all who had captured videos and photos were told to give their names to an officer at the scene.

The city promised an investigation and a report by Tuesday’s meeting.

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At Tuesday’s meeting, Luke called Police Chief Brian Dawsey to the podium to provide phone numbers citizens could call to give information on the incident and to file complaints. The state investigation’s numbers for coast investigator Brad Garrett are 228-376-7406 and 228-864-4881, extension 6. He also gave the phone number for the local Federal Bureau of Investigation office, 228-864-6131.

When a person attending the meeting asked whether the officer in question had been put on leave, Dawsey said “no” and was halted by city attorney Nathan Farmer as he began explaining why. Farmer advised Dawsey that the officer’s status was a personnel matter and should be handled in executive session.

The meeting opened on a more upbeat note with council member Janice Stevens reading proclamations congratulating two PYAA teams for their efforts at the youth leagues World Series. Both the 10-year-old All-Stars and the 12-year-old Heat won state championships in their age groups. The 10-year-old team placed third at the World Series and the Heat team was runner-up.

During the regular business, the council voted to begin work on the green space on Goodyear Boulevard by authorizing a $100,000 phase to design and install the iron fence and gates around the green space. On questioning, city engineer Vernon Moore, of Dungan Engineering, said the gates, at 16 feet wide, would accommodate all future work planned for the green space. A future phase includes $500,000 worth of work that will install a walking track and other features.

The council also approved selling some property at the city’s industrial park to Heritage Plastics for a planned expansion at a price of approximately $160,000. The plant’s director of production said work on the expansion is expected by the end of the year and between 7 and 20 jobs may be added as a result. The plant has been located in Picayune since about 1982.

In other business, the council:

• Approved Planning Commission recommendations, including denying one for “The Scare House.”

• Approved selling retiring police officer Maj. Ricky Frierson his service weapon for $1.

Adjourned until Tuesday, Aug. 5 at 5 p.m.