Vicksburg police officer suspended with pay after alleged mishandling of suspect
VICKSBURG, Miss. (WLBT) - A Vicksburg police officer is in hot water Sunday night after a video surfaced showing him allegedly slapping and pulling a man to the ground.
While on the ground, the officer allegedly attempted to pick up the suspect and then put his knee in his back.
The suspect, identified as John Dolley, did not appear to show resistance in the video.
Bystanders are heard urging the officer, now identified as Eddie Colbert, to stop.
Colbert and a second officer then picked up the suspect and carried him away.
Video does not show Dolley being put in a police vehicle.
The incident occurred on Christmas night at the Upper End, a Vicksburg bar, according to a witness who spoke on condition of anonymity.
It was unclear what sparked the altercation. Officers responded to the scene because of a disturbance call, said Chief Penny Jones.
Jones said Colbert, an investigator with 15 years of experience, responded after other police were unable to get the situation under control.
Mayor George Flaggs said Colbert is currently suspended with pay pending the outcome of an investigation.
“One, it’s embarrassing. Two, it looked like it was excessive behavior on the part of the police officer, but we don’t know at this point. I’ve asked them to investigate it,” he said. “I can rest assure you that if it’s any type of excessive behavior, we will judge it accordingly.”
Flaggs said the investigation should wrap up within 24 hours and will include talks with the victim, Colbert, and other officers on the scene.
He said the Vicksburg Police Department is reviewing videos posted on social media as well as officers’ body cameras.
“If an officer was on the scene or anywhere around that altercation and their body camera wasn’t on, they’ll be dealt with too,” he said.
He is urging anyone with video of the altercation to forward it to the Vicksburg Police Department. The city also will be checking to see if any surveillance cameras captured the incident.
“I think we got enough footage to determine what we should do because of the situation,” he said.
The mayor says Dolley was not injured during the incident.
Dolley is charged with disturbing the peace and disorderly conduct.
It was unclear where Dolley was being held. Sunday night his name did not show up on the Warren County Jail’s website.
“I try not to prejudge the situation. There are two sides to every case, and what I try not to do is intervene and I try not to micromanage the police department,” he said. “I’m expecting Chief Jones to report to me in the morning on her findings.”
“But I can tell you this. If this officer is violating, in any way, somebody’s rights, or, at the same time, being excessive in delivery of his duty and obligations we’re going to act accordingly, whether it be suspension or termination,” Flaggs said.
He added that the officer in question is a “very good officer” and a “very good officer,” but has had some lesser disciplinary problems in the past.
“We will not tolerate it from anybody or doing anything that is inappropriate to anybody. We have a great city. We’re going to keep the city going like it is. And we’re not going to have one or two people give us a black eye.”
This is a developing story.
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