Teens involved in violent arrest accused in Canton double homicide; FBI investigating

U.S. Marshals investigating after punch caught on camera - clipped version
U.S. Marshals investigating after punch caught on camera - clipped version
Published: Sep. 17, 2021 at 4:02 PM CDT
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - A video of the U.S. Marshals Task Force slapping a suspect in handcuffs is now a federal investigation.

A Ring camera shows an officer hitting a handcuffed suspect in the face as he walks out of a home.

U.S. Marshals investigating after handcuffed suspect hit in face

In the background of the video, another suspect appears to be in some type of altercation with another officer.

Thursday, when WLBT received the video, U.S. Marshals released a statement saying they were looking into the incident involving a member of their task force.

Friday, U.S. Department of Justice released the same statement adding this new line.

The Department of Justice’s Civil Rights Division, United States Attorney Office and the FBI have opened an investigation, and if the investigation reveals prosecutable violations of any federal criminal statutes, the Department will take appropriate action.

U.S. Department of Justice spokesperson

The video was sent to WLBT by the family of 17-year-old Kevin Harris, who claims he’s the one in the video hit by the officer.

Harris is one of four teenagers accused of accessory to commit capital murder, according to Canton police. Obe Lee and Tomar Smith were arrested last month.

Investigators in Canton believe Harris had a hand in killing two innocent bystanders in a shootout last month; 42-year-old Tracey Wilder and 6-year-old Jeison Romero Lopez.

Jeison Romero Lopez, 5 and Tracy Wilder, 42(WLBT)
Jeison Romero Lopez, 5 and Tracy Wilder, 42(WLBT)(WLBT)

Friday, Canton police confirmed 17-year-old Kevin Harris and 16-year-old Demetrius Lee are charged with capital murder, conspiracy to commit murder, and assault in this double homicide investigation.

16-year-old Demetrius Lee (L), 17-year-old Kevin Harris (R)
16-year-old Demetrius Lee (L), 17-year-old Kevin Harris (R)(Madison County Detention Center)

Kevin Harris’s mom said she was out of town but says officers in the video raided her home early Thursday looking for her son and Lee.

Cawanda Harris thinks her son is being targeted.

“Every time something goes on in Canton, they blame my child,” Harris said.

The mom told us local police asked her to bring her son in for questioning in connection to this investigation, but she refused. Harris told us the last time she brought her son in for questioning, they arrested him.

Investigators have not officially confirmed if Harris is the teen in the video.

Dr. Harry Porter is the director of Administrative Justice at Mississippi College.

“In general, most training for law enforcement officers does not include use of force activities unless there is a just cause, such as the individual is putting up a fight while the officer is attempting to arrest them,” said Porter.

The weekend of September 3, a video was taken in Kosciousko showing a man being pulled from a car then slapped while being patted down.

The detained person is later seen with a bloody face. The person who sent the video said they believe he is an off duty Mississippi Highway Patrol Trooper.

We sent the video to the Department of Public Safety to confirm that.

According to Chris Vignes, Deputy Commissioner of External Affairs with the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, the individual in the video was a former DPS employee.

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