HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden raised concerns at Monday's council work session about a weekend of events that she said attracted hundreds to Hattiesburg in an "anti-police" organization.
Dryden said Club Hi Hat on Timothy Lane in Hattiesburg had hundreds of cars in its parking lot, as well as surrounding parking lots last month. According to a flyer by the Brothers of the Struggle organization, they hosted an event there on Saturday, May 9. Dryden asked in Monday's meeting if the group received the proper permit and if the fire code was followed for the number of people at Club Hi Hat.
The flyer also showed events at a VFW Post in downtown Hattiesburg, which Post 3036 Commander Ted Tibbett said was not his location, as well as La Fiesta Brava and Vernon Dahmer Park. That park is in Ward 5 Councilman Henry Naylor's ward, and he said in Monday's meeting that he was not aware of the event until after the fact, nor did he know if the group received a permit to host an event at the park.
Hattiesburg Parks and Recreation Department Director Ann Jones said B.O.S. did properly apply and receive a permit for that event at Vernon Dahmer Park. Hattiesburg Fire Department Chief Paul Presley said there were no issues with capacities at the specified locations, and the department was on call to check fire code compliance.
The flyer said it was the 13th annual Brothers of the Struggle Weekend, and Dryden said the group is "considered to be one of the most violent gangs in the country, a group commonly known as anti-police and with a reputation for sales of narcotics."
Hattiesburg Police Department's Public Information Officer Lieutenant Jon Traxler said additional officers were in place that weekend due to the influx of people in the city for these events.
"No matter what it is... we still act according to something going on in the city," Traxler explained.
Traxler added he would provide information on the type of organization B. O. S. is after he spoke with a gang expert within HPD.