Lumberton mayor explains city’s response to viral police pepper spray video
LUMBERTON, Miss. (WDAM) - WDAM heard of a local protest at Lumberton City Hall about a viral video showing the interim police chief pepper-spraying a woman.
While WDAM could not get in contact with the organizer and did not find the protest happening at the listed time, the Lumberton mayor explained the city’s steps after seeing the video.
You can watch the video on Facebook here.
Mayor Quincy Rogers and the Board of Aldermen watched the video in an executive session after a concerned citizen brought it up at a meeting.
“So, it was probably about a 10-12 second snippet, or 20 seconds max. It shows the officer... coming in, you know, contact with the female and words were exchanged,” Rogers says. “Then we did see spray being deployed. We don’t know what happened prior to that.”
Rogers says the officers responded to a call about a party happening in a park. He mentions hearing there may have been substances and weapons at the party.
After seeing the video, the board agreed to have a third party investigate.
“We turned it over to the investigation, diversification, detectives at the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department. I met with them on Monday and they came down, gathered all the bodycam footage and now it’s in their hands,” Rogers explains.
Rogers says he is grateful the citizens brought their concerns to the city and if they have information, they should also reach out to the city or the sheriff.
“...something happened with the bodycam footage. I don’t know. So the only bodycam footage we have is bodycam footage of the other officer,” Rogers explains. “So we’re hoping and praying that there’s something on there, and if anyone has any footage that they have out there that they would like for us to see, please contact us and we’ll contact the sheriff’s department and we’ll make sure that that’s made available to them because we want to get to the bottom of this as well as you do.”
Rogers says interim Chief Rodney Parker, the officer in the video is still patrolling and will stay in the position for now. He says the board will decide what to do after the sheriff’s department investigates.
“However this investigation turns out we’re going to handle it accordingly. If it’s something that we’ve done, or our employees were at fault, we’re going to handle that. If it’s something that, was done on behalf of the citizen, the police department will handle that,” Rogers says.
“We just like that the people want to know that we don’t condone any type of police brutality. So, I don’t know if any was done there. So, I guess the investigators to give us a final decision. And that’s what we want people to know.”
Rogers says he wants to lead a transparent administration. He hopes that people who have information, questions or concerns will reach out to city hall.
He explains that he is monitoring the situation and people can expect another update when the investigation concludes.
“I have to be neutral. I have to stand between the citizens and I have to be between our police department and all of our employees. So I want to make sure that we all get a fair shake. That’s my objective,” says Rogers. “I want to make sure our citizens are treated fairly and I want to make sure our police department and employees are treated fairly.”
You can reach Lumberton City Hall between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. at (601) 796-8341. You can also reach the Lamar County Sheriff’s Department 24/7 hotline at (601) 582-STOP (7867).
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