Community Hearing about Chief's Resignation

A group is announcing a hearing that will address what they call, 'the real reasons,' that Meridian's police chief resigned. The public hearing is being sponsored by the Coalition of Community Leaders. It's set for Monday. Organizers say they do not believe that Chief James Reed recently resigned because he was not certified by the state. Instead, they're expressing concerns about alleged internal problems within the department.

"Our community is still bleeding from the wound from the departure of Chief James Reed."

That's how Reverend William Brown started Friday's press conference. He, along with other members of the Coalition of Community Leaders, say the purpose for the Community Hearing is to get answers and needed changes.

"We're hearing of a culture that's not conducive to the health of this community. To be specific, it's insubordination. If there's insubordination there, we feel that that sends a bad message and it sets an image."

The Coalition of Community Leaders, which consist of members from the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance, The Baptist Ministers Association, the SCLC and local NAACP, is expressing concerns that insubordination within the department played a role in Chief Reed's resignation.

"If the gangs don't tolerate insubordination, how can you have insubordination with the Meridian Police Department?" says Brown.

Set to speak about their concerns at Monday's hearing, are representatives from the coalition and others within the community. Organizers for the event say Mayor Cheri Barry is aware of the hearing, and that she and other city officials are welcome to participate.

When it comes to this hearing, organizers say the former chief has absolutely nothing to do with it. Meanwhile, as for whether the coalition wants the mayor to pursue James Reed to take back over as head of the police department, they say that's a decision for someone else to make.

"If it's in the wisdom of the mayor to do that, we'll accept that; if that's in her wisdom, but ultimately that would be left up to James Reed," says Brown.

Monday's Community Hearing will be held at 7PM at First Union Church in Meridian. The public is invited to attend.