HPD Officer terminated; investigation ongoing

HPD Officer terminated; investigation ongoing
Hattiesburg Police Department

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg police department has terminated one of its own, and the matter has been turned over to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations.

Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler confirmed that Officer James Harvey was terminated for conduct unbecoming of an officer, Thursday March 12th.

A Hattiesburg police incident report does exist related to this matter, but the City of Hattiesburg is denying 7 On Your Side access to this report.

A public record request was submitted by WDAM for this report on March 18th, but the report was quickly denied by the city of Hattiesburg Attorney Charles Lawrence. Lawrence stated in an email that the report is part of a "personnel matter" therefore it is no longer a public record.

Traxler added that the department's internal investigation into the matter is complete. He stated that his part in the investigation does not determine criminal wrong doing, just simply the internal affairs portion.

The department traditionally sends out a "24 hour report" of all the crimes/incidents that occur in the City of Hattiesburg. However there is a five day gap between March 10th and March 16th where no reports have been sent out. This missing time frame includes the incident in question that 7 On Your Side has requested information about.

While common practice, the "24 hour report" is a courtesy that the department provides to inform the public/media of the crimes/incidents in the area.

7 On Your Side maintains that the incident report is a public record and is actively pursuing the document.