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Councilman plans investigation into MPD, lawsuit against Meridian mayor

Published: Oct. 8, 2020 at 3:56 PM CDT|Updated: Oct. 8, 2020 at 4:18 PM CDT
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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Mayoral candidate and Ward 5 City Councilman Weston Lindemann is raising many questions about the Meridian Police Department and the way it’s being governed.

“I’m announcing my intention to ask the city council to launch investigations into various aspects of the Meridian Police Department,” Lindemann said at a Thursday news conference.

Lindemann says an investigation would shed light on why certain officers have been promoted within the department. He also says he wants to get to the bottom of possible criminal activity among officers.

“I would like to look into the origins of the promotions into (name redacted) and (name redacted),” Lindemann said. “Beyond that, I would like to look at the conduct of (name redacted). Multiple allegations have surfaced regarding the possibility that he’s been extorting individuals and informants for drugs and/or money.”

Mayor Percy Bland released a statement in response to that aspect of Lindemann’s concern:

“Mr. Lindemann needs to prove any accusations of criminal activity. As a city council member he is representing the city. He is now openly and purposely creating a hostile work environment for three officers. He is also putting the city at legal risk.”

In addition to an investigation, Lindemann announced a lawsuit he intends to file against Bland for not having a permanent police chief in a timely manner.

“We currently have no police chief. Lt. Gale has not been brought before the council for a vote, as such, the permanent position has been vacant,” explained Lindemann. “Former Hattiesburg Mayor Johnny Dupree faced a similar writ in a court that compelled him to hire a police chief back in 2015.”

Mayor Bland also released a statement in response to that:

“We have had two interim chiefs and one acting chief. We have always had someone leading the department since January. We have tried to get one of them confirmed by the council, but the Council did not confirm them. CAO Eddie Kelly has continued the process of the appointment of a permanent chief. We could have one as early as the next council meeting.”

Lindemann says he will also follow up on the Civil Service Commission’s investigation into the circumstances that led to the termination of Lt. Rita Jack, who has since been reinstated.

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