Police: Meridian mayor helps break up fight in Ridgeland

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Photo source: Video submitted by viewer(WTOK)
Published: Apr. 24, 2017 at 2:35 PM CDT
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Ridgeland police say Meridian Mayor Percy Bland helped to de-escalate a fight involving a coach and a Meridian police officer at a baseball tournament in Ridgeland. The incident was caught on camera.

The incident happened at Freedom Ridge Park in Ridgeland on Friday around 7 p.m.

Mayor Percy Bland, who was there to watch his son play in the tournament, says things began heating up after one of the coaches - identified by Ridgeland police as Leroi Gray, of Clinton - was ejected from the game.

"One of their coaches on the other team was ejected from the game, came over to our side to try to basically fight one of our parents," the mayor says.

Ridgeland police say the verbal altercation then turned physical. Meridian's coach, Meridian Police Officer Eric Johnson, is seen fighting Gray. That's when the mayor stepped in.

"The situation was getting out of hand," Mayor Bland says. "I tried to, of course, stop the coach from doing that, and what happened after that was just an unfortunate situation."

Gray was taken to a hospital for evaluation and treatment.

"Bland had no involvement in the disagreement other than attempting to separate the parties," Ridgeland police Chief John Neal said.

No charges have been filed in the incident at this point, but Ridgeland police say they are reviewing the video and collecting more evidence.

Meridian Police Chief Benny Dubose says he's waiting to find out more information from Ridgeland investigators and hear a statement from Johnson before he can determine whether disciplinary action is necessary. He hopes to learn more Tuesday morning.