LAUREL, MS (WDAM) - Just three days after two police officers with the Laurel Police Department were fired for allegations of police brutality, a complaint was filed. Attorney Dow Yoder filed a complaint for civil rights violations and damages on behalf of 36-year-old James Barnett, who alleges the officers brutally beat him after fleeing from a checkpoint in Jasper County on May 16.
Court documents show that officers Bryce Gilbert and Wade Robertson followed a vehicle operated by Barnett outside of the jurisdiction of Laurel, Mississippi in Jones County. It goes on to say that based on the instructions of Robertson and Gilbert, Barnett "placed himself face down on the ground" just moments before he was "brutally assaulted and publicly tortured" on the side of the road.
Although Barnett admitted he was wrong for leading officers on a chase under the belief had a warrant, he told WDAM-TV in a previous interview that his actions didn't warrant getting beat by police.
WDAM-TV previously reported that Robertson graduated from the South Regional Public Safety Institute and was in the Laurel Police Department field training program when he was hired back in May 2016. Bryce Gilbert worked for the Ellisville Police Department prior to joining LPD. He also used to serve in the United States Army.
The complaint, which is against the City of Laurel; (Mayor) Johnny Magee, Laurel Police Chief Tyrone Stewart, Bryce Gilbert and Wade Robertson, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety and DOES 1-100, demands that Barnett have the right to a jury trial.
In the 56-page document, it says that employees at South Central Regional Medical Center "authorized a wrongful medical discharge of Mr. Barnett, so that he would be transported and incarcerated without medical care at the Jones County Detention Center.
In the complaint, Barnett states he believes video footage of the encounter was subsequently destroyed.
During a May 21 press conference with the mayor and the Laurel Police Department, WDAM-TV asked for body cam footage. But, due to it being an ongoing investigation were not given access to that information.
Barnett was charged with resisting arrest, which he says he pleaded guilty to during his initial court appearance and plans to fight during his next court appearance on June 11.
WDAM-TV reached out to Barnett and Yoder, but did not hear back from either one by press time.
Read the full complaint here: