Jones County jury fails to reach a verdict in a disorderly conduct case

By Ontario Richardson – bio | email | Twitter

JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - A jury failed to reach a verdict Wednesday evening in a disorderly conduct trial in Jones County.

A crew filming a documentary found themselves behind bars for disorderly conduct after filming a Jones County Deputy Sheriff despite his order to put away the camera. The accused said they were not breaking the law and their rights were violated.

It was Jones County Deputy James Atkins against Adam Mueller. Mueller said it all started from a simple traffic stop back in May 2009. Mueller said his colleague Peter Eyre was driving alone on Interstate-59 when they pulled over.

Mueller said "Me and my colleague were driving to Meridian to eat lunch with some other friends. We were in the mist of filming what we call a real time documentary."

Eyre said " Atkins said he pulled us over because he was unfamiliar with the paper license plate tag that I had on the RV.

Atkins said he was just following safety protocol. He said he was the only deputy on scene at the time and was surrounded by three young men, one holding a small objected that appeared by a camera. Atkins said he asked the guy to stop rolling several times but Mueller continue.

Atkins said "I was standing at the door waiting on the driver to get his information. Mr. Mueller walked forward and stated that he wanted to get audio."

Mueller was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct. In a written statement the deputy said Mueller violated the law by not putting the camera up when told to do so, but in an email to Mueller's friend, Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge stated that it is not illegal to videotape in Mississippi. He said, Mueller's arrest for disorderly conduct had nothing to do with the fact that he was operating a camera.

The trial ended in a hung jury. No word on whether the case will be re-tried.

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