Aldermen issue apology, suspend officer

Published 7:00 am Thursday, April 19, 2018

Poplarville’s Board of Aldermen voted unanimously to issue a public apology to Rodney Taylor in regard to his complaint about recent police misconduct, and to suspend the officer in question for 36 hours without pay.

At the April 3 Board of Aldermen meeting, Taylor addressed the Board about a recent interaction he had with a local officer. After hearing his son was involved in a gunfight at a nearby gas station, Taylor said he went to the scene to check on his son. When he arrived, Taylor said Capt. Jimmy Steinkamp, the officer in charge of the scene, treated him and his son unfairly. According to previous coverage, the next day Taylor submitted a letter of complaint to Police Chief Butch Raby, who began an investigation into the matter.

Tuesday’s Board of Aldermen meeting ended with an executive session to discuss police personnel matters. After the session ended, the audience was invited back into the boardroom. Taylor was in attendance.

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After discussing Steinkamp’s behavior in regard to Taylor’s complaint, it was decided that he would be suspended for three shifts without pay. The Board also offered Taylor a public apology. A motion to move forward with these actions passed unanimously.

“We voted to offer you an apology on behalf of the City of Poplarville for the unprofessionalism that was exhibited to you on that day dealing with your son. We sincerely apologize on behalf of this Board,” Mayor Rossie Creel said. 

Raby also offered an apology.

“I apologize on behalf of the police department for the actions of Capt. Steinkamp,” Raby said.

Taylor accepted the apologies and asked to address the Board. Taylor said while he was fine with the Board’s decision, he was concerned the situation would be repeated.

“How are we going to go forward without this happening again?” Taylor asked.

Alderman Tony Smith said that in the future, Taylor should continue to be polite and cooperative when dealing with police officers. However, if Taylor has a negative experience again, Smith told him to file another complaint and return to the Board.

“If there are any more issues, you need to come to this Board, come to the chief, and let us address it again,” Creel said. “I would be terribly surprised and shocked if it happened again, but if it does, you can be assured that this administration is going to deal with it.”

According to previous coverage, the gunfight involved Taylor’s son and another man who was originally in possession of the gun. Raby said on Tuesday that the other man has been identified, but an arrest has not been made. He said the incident is still under investigation.