Hopkins Charged, Released

Former Meridian police officer, Don Hopkins, has been released on his own recognizance after he was charged with simple assault Thursday following a probable cause hearing in Lauderdale County Circuit Court.

Hopkins' attorney, Bill Ready, Jr., says his client will plead not guilty to the misdemeanor charge, and then a trial date will be set.

Judge Robert Bailey ruled that a simple assault charge could go forward against Hopkins. It's related to an arrest he made two years ago.

The case dates back to March 2012, when two alleged victims say Hopkins assaulted them.

As reported Thursday, Willie and Shontae Roland say Hopkins made an obscene hand gesture at them when they did not let his car pull out on the road.

Willie Roland says he returned the gesture and Hopkins followed them through Meridian, yelling and trying to show what they thought was a badge. Hopkins was in an unmarked car at the time. The couple said they didn't believe he was a police officer.

A scuffle soon followed, which led to the couple filing an internal affairs complaint.

Hopkins' termination case before the Meridian Civil Service Commission is still pending. Mayor Percy Bland attempted to remove four commissioners in February. Those commissioners remain in place but have not had their hearing nor been able to proceed with CSC business.