Meridian, Miss. After a three hour hearing Wednesday evening, the Meridian Civil Service Commission was not able to come to an agreement on whether to uphold the firing of former officer Adam Meaders.
Meaders is the officer who posted an image on his personal Facebook page that some find racially offensive. The picture, which we are not showing, makes what city attorneys say is a reference to Mayor Percy Bland and former police chief James Lee. Meaders told the commission he posted the picture because he thought it was funny and said he had no idea it was offensive in any way.
"The image does not have the city of Meridian listed in any way," according to David Linder, who serves as Meaders attorney. "The image came from a national police Facebook page. It refers to a generic mayor, a generic chief of police."
Meaders testified that he was on his dinner break when the picture in question was posted and that it was posted from his personal phone on to his personal page. City attorneys argued that the posting violated the city's social media policies and said whether on the clock or off the clock, employees are expected to make appropriate posts.
"I would say that clearly, the posting of this image is in the violation of the city of Meridian's policies and procedures, including the social media policy and the code of conduct for police officers," city attorney Michael Goggans says.
After three hours of listening to both witness testimony and attorney arguments, the Civil Service Commission went into deliberation. However, when the commissioners returned, they announced that no decision had been reached. Both sides must now wait.
"We presented a very good case, a very clear case," Goggans maintains.
"And we hope that justice will be served and that officer Meaders will be reinstated," Linder adds.
There is no word on when the commissioners plan to announce a decision. It is possible that both sides in the case will simply receive written notification from the commissioners.