Meridian, Lauderdale County Respond to Justice Department Investigation

Attorneys for the city of Meridian and Lauderdale County have responded to allegations of discrimination by the Meridian Police Department and Lauderdale County Youth Court system.

The U.S. Justice Department recently found that the two entities had created a school-to-jail pipeline for African American students in Meridian Public Schools, sending them to jail for minor offenses like dress code violations.

In a letter to the Justice Department, City Attorney Ronnie Walton and County Attorney Rick Barry denied those charges, and questioned the motivations of the people doing the investigation. The letter states that claims of discrimination are based on opinions and assumptions not supported by the facts.

Here's an excerpt from that letter.

"We also find it interesting that you would release your findings and immediately send them to the national media . . . It makes us seriously question your true intentions concerning your investigation."

Click the slide show to see each page of the letter sent by local government attorneys. Right click and select 'view image'. The type can be enlarged by pushing the CTRL button on your keyboard and then selecting the plus sign above the equal sign on your keyboard to choose the font size you want. Font can be reduced by pushing CTRL and pushing the minus sign.

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