Meridian, Miss. The attorney for a longtime Meridian police sergeant is reacting to an equal opportunity report.
The findings of Equal Opportunity Officer Stacey Thompson on Meridian Police Chief James Lee come as no surprise to attorney Bill Ready Jr., who is representing Sergeant J.C. Lewis. In fact, Ready tells Newscenter 11 he would have been surprised had Thompson not found the chief to be operating an offensive and hostile work environment.
"Yes, based on what I knew had happened with Sergeant Lewis from what I'm aware of going on with the other officers now, and what has gone on down there since the chief of police came, I was not surprised at all," Ready says.
This EOO finding came after Sergant Lewis filed a complaint following a meeting with the chief on December 30th. Sergeant Lewis says the chief humiliated him during a staff meeting in which Lewis questioned when a new schedule for off-days would take effect.
"J.C. Lewis has never been disrespectful, even after the chief of police started cussing him and acting the way he did," Ready recalls. "It's my appreciation that J.C. Lewis maintained his professionalism and composure which is simply trying to get a clarification of a statement the chief had made."
According to an executive order and resolution by the mayor and city council, the city of Meridian enforces a zero tolerance policy regarding violence and harassment in the workplace. It goes on to say any employee committing such an act shall face disciplinary action up to and including termination and/or criminal prosecution.
Mayor Percy Bland and Chief Administrative Officer Mike McGrevey say no action has been taken against the chief at this time and the chief has been reporting to work as scheduled.
"I can't comment either way with regards to personnel matters," McGrevey said when asked what the future could bring.