HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - A group called the Brothers of the Struggle, or B. O. S., held its 13th annual weekend of events in Hattiesburg last month, which has raised concern among city council members and residents alike.Retired assistant chief of the Hattiesburg Police Department Jim Kinslow, who founded the department's task force on gangs and drugs, said B. O. S. is a group that causes trouble in the city.
"I've seen as many as up to four or five thousand in a weekend," Kinslow said of the group's annual convention in the Hub City. "Best way to describe it is a criminal organization."
Kinslow said the amount of law enforcement that is used on the weekends that B. O. S. meets in Hattiesburg depletes the department's resources that should continue to be used to protect other parts of the city.
"You have to pull people off other details just to handle security when they come to town," he explained.
B. O. S. members and supporters, however, made comments on the WDAM Facebook page that said the group helped the elderly, conducted community service projects, among other things. Hattiesburg Pastor Dennis Henderson also defended the group's working, acknowledging there may be some "bad apples."
However, Kinslow disagreed with those claims.
"It's a bunch of B.S.," he said. "I'm not gonna doubt that they might give to certain areas or certain things. I'm not gong to say that, but I would like to see their records, and I would bet you 100 dollars to a donut you're not gonna see those, because they don't have those," he said of records indicating financial contributions to philanthropic organizations or individuals.
An anonymous member of B. O. S. scheduled an interview with Seven On Your Side to "set the record straight" then backed out, saying his group does not like to be publicized.
HPD Lieutenant Jon Traxler also declined to comment on the organization, saying their department has internal forces that deal with that group. That manpower is the Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) that Kinslow founded.
Kinslow also said calling the B. O. S. organization anti-police would put it "kind of mildly."
Ward 4 Councilwoman Mary Dryden raised questions at Monday's work session regarding event permits, parking regulations and fire code enforcement for large events, referencing the B. O. S. weekend on May 7-9. One of those events was held at Club Hi Hat on Timothy Lane in Hattiesburg, according to the group's flyer.
in response to Dryden's remarks and news reports.
Reports also surfaced on social media and in the community that Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny DuPree was at one of the B. O. S. events, but his communications director said she did not know whether he was in attendance.