City council votes 'yes' for DOJ investigation into Andreacchio case

MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - The Meridian City Council has passed a resolution requesting the Department of Justice to open an investigation in the Christian Andreacchio case.

The resolution passed 4-to-1 at Tuesday's council meeting with Councilman George Thomas casting the only "no" vote.

Christian Andreacchio's 2014 death was ruled a suicide by Meridian Police and by the medical examiner's office. The attorney general's office also reviewed the case and considers it closed after a grand jury decided "not" to indict two people in connection with the 21-year old's death. Christian's family, however, does not believe he took his own life.

The resolution asking the DOJ to get involved in the case does not mean the federal agency will investigate, but council president Tyrone Johnson said the vote shows the city supports Christian's family.

District Attorney Kassie Coleman previously said her office is ready to receive and review any new evidence in the case.

Coleman posted a lengthy response on her Facebook page to the council's decision to request federal authorities to get involved in the case. Coleman's statement reads:

"The Meridian City Council has passed a resolution on Election Day, despite having more than two years to take this important step after a grand jury declined to move forward with this case, under my predecessor, in 2017.

But, as I have stated repeatedly it’s never too late to consider new evidence or seek justice. And surely, that must be the intent of this effort despite the suspect political timing. I trust the voters of the 10th District to draw their own conclusions about the timing of this action.

I do appreciate that the resolution demonstrates that the burden of properly investigating the death of Christian Andreacchio has always rested on the shoulders of the City of Meridian and the Meridian Police Department. I commend the city leaders for recognizing the need for outside investigative assistance from the Department of Justice and/or the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

The resolution calls for assistance from these federal agencies, and authorizes a request be made for an investigation to be opened into how the CITY OF MERIDIAN has handled the case. Please read that again. This is a request from the City of Meridian for an investigation into how city officials handled this case—not how the District Attorney’s Office or the Attorney General’s Office handled this case.

I hope that this investigation will help answer the Andreacchio family’s questions and that justice can be achieved for all involved.

In July our community was divided when a political proclamation was made by supporters of my opponent that voters cannot support Kassie Coleman and also support justice for Christian. I pray that having an outside agency assist in further investigating this case will allow for healing in our community.

Therefore anyone who was inclined to vote against me solely because of this case not being “reopened” can now rest assured that a request has been made by the City of Meridian for a more thorough investigation—including any alleged coverup by the Meridian Police Department—to be conducted by outside federal agencies.

I humbly ask that voters please focus on the experience and training of the two candidates running for District Attorney. I implore you to research the candidates. Our district needs proven and experienced leadership. Vote Kassie Coleman for District Attorney."