HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - The Hattiesburg Police Department has terminated one of its own, after rape allegations emerged.
Hattiesburg Police Lt. Jon Traxler confirmed that Officer James Harvey was terminated on March 12 for conduct unbecoming of an officer.
An internal investigation was completed, and the matter was turned over to the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations.
The alleged incident occurred on the Wednesday night, March 11 to Thursday morning, March 12 shift.
On March 18, 7 On Your Side filed a public records request for an incident report filed under number 2015- 03- 0433.
The report was denied by 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.
7 on your Side maintained that it was a public record and cited legal precedent to support our position. On April 14, the incident report was released, 28 days after our request.
According to the narrative in the report:
“Hattiesburg Police received a call from Forrest General Hospital in reference to a person at the hospital advising they had been raped. Once police arrived they met with the victim who advised that early that day they had received a call from a subject they had met earlier. The caller asked the victim to meet them on West Scooba Street so they could talk. Upon arrival the victim met with the suspect who got in the victim's vehicle. The victim advised the suspect then forcibly sexually assaulted them in the vehicle. Once the suspect was finished the suspect left the scene in they were in and victim left in their vehicle. Investigation continues.”
The department traditionally sends out a “24 hour report” of all the crimes/incidents that occur in the City of Hattiesburg, listing a report number, a date and time, an address and a brief summary, as well as the offense/crime committed.
During days surrounding the incident, the “24 hour report” did not list an incident for a “rape” labeled 2015- 03- 0433, however multiple other incidents were listed on the reports.
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.
“The investigation is ongoing, and I'm not at liberty to discuss any details," said Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree on Thursday. "Meanwhile, our police force remains among the best in the nation and has zero-tolerance for any improper conduct; whether it's in-house or within our community. I want to assure the citizens of Hattiesburg that we are committed to upholding our oath to protect and serve.”