Meridian, Miss. The couple who's accusing a now former Meridian police officer of assault is speaking out to the media. It involves an incident that happened two years ago, but is now coming up in court.
Willie and Shuntay Roland initially filed the complaint against now former Meridian Police Detective Don Hopkins in March 2012. They're accusing him of simple assault for an incident which happened after the couple says they did not let Hopkins pull his car onto the roadway. They claim that Hopkins, who was off duty at the time, then trailed them through the city in an unmarked vehicle. The couple contends that previous reports in the media about Hopkins attempting to show what appeared to be a badge while following them, are false.
"Neither one of us ever said that," says Willie Roland. "I believe that he said that he was sticking his badge out the window. Now, I'm trying to figure out how you stuck a badge out the window when your windows were rolled up? So, none of that is true."
Roland goes on to say that a scuffle took place when he stopped the vehicle. This led to the couple being arrested. Last June the charges for simple assault of a police officer, which both the husband and wife faced, were dropped.
According to the Rolands, between the time when the incident happened to now, they have gone to the police station perhaps a dozen times, and called it many more times, to check on the status of the investigation.
However, both say that they were always told that they could not find out information about the case because it involved an ongoing internal investigation. The Rolands say that it was only late last year after a new person was appointed as the head for internal affairs with the police department that they discovered the status of their claim.
"They didn't understand that it had already been filed," says Roland. "We had a copy of the complaint that we took back down to the police station that we filed in 2012. So, they took the complaint and they investigated, and they asked us what did we want to happen. And our response was that if we can go to jail over a lie, then obviously, he can go to jail over the truth."
Last week a circuit judge ruled that there is enough evidence for Hopkins to stand trial for simple assault. At last check a trial date had not been set.
Simple assault is a misdemeanor offense. If found guilty, Hopkins could face up to six months in the county jail, and up to a $500 fine.