MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - A Meridian police officer has been suspended and will likely lose his job after dash cam video captured him using excessive force during a recent arrest. The officer was issued a "notice of intent" to terminate two days after the altercation, which happened last weekend at a local Walmart when officers responded to a shoplifting call.
The MPD is not releasing the officer's name or dash cam video of the altercation, but Meridian Police Chief Benny Dubose says allegations and incidents of excessive force are taken very seriously.
“He’s currently on suspension without pay pending termination,” says Chief Dubose.
The altercation happened Saturday at the Highway 19 Walmart when officers responding to a shoplifting call tried to arrest the suspect. The suspect briefly got away but was eventually caught and handcuffed. That's when matters took a turn for the worst.
“While the suspect was being taken into custody, one of our officers exceeded our use of force continuum,” says Chief Dubose.
The chief says what dash cam video showed next, stunned police.
“The suspect was not resisting arrest, was complying with command of the officers and in that case it was our opinion no need for any force other than handcuffs and placing him in a vehicle,” says Chief Dubose.
The chief says the video shows the suspect was not resisting arrest when the officer slammed and detained him with a stun gun. The chief emphasized race is not a factor in this case.
“I think emotions may have played a part into it but I don’t think it had anything to do with race. Whether the suspect or the officer was green, purple or blue, the rules were violated and that’s what we were looking at,” says Chief Dubose.
It's important to emphasize at this point, the officer has not been charged with a crime. The officer does have the right to appeal his suspension and termination. Dubose says the suspended patrol officer just celebrated his one year anniversary with MPD.
“The officers that were on the scene brought it to the attention of their supervisors on what had happened. So if there is a silver lining in the whole thing is that the officers on scene policed themselves and reported this incident to make sure that this didn’t happened again,” says Chief Dubose.
The case will be reviewed by the Civil Service Commission.
Meridian Mayor Percy Bland released this statement saying quote, “The City of Meridian generally does not comment regarding personnel matters, but the individual referenced was placed on suspension without pay pending termination."