Prosecutor's Facebook comment scrutinized

Published: Jun. 2, 2020 at 7:55 PM CDT
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"We can only hope the deadly strain spreads in riots!"

Those words by Madison County Prosecutor Pamela Hancock on a coworker's Facebook post have many people angry that an elected official would even give the impression that she hopes those who commit property crimes across the U.S. catch a potentially deadly virus.

But defense attorney Merrida Coxwell, who has gone toe-to-toe with Hancock in the courtroom before, thinks it was just a poor choice of words, a lapse in judgment.

"I don't think there's any way on earth that Pam Hancock really meant to say, 'I hope people really get sick from the coronavirus.' I mean, when you see people out breaking social distancing, it'd be easy to say as an off-the-cuff statement, 'well they're going to get coronavirus; I hope they get coronavirus.' Nobody really wishes that," said Coxwell.

Coxwell says he's sensitive to the riots across the nation, as well as the peaceful protests against the killing of George Floyd, an unarmed black man, at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer.

"We had a case just like Mr. Floyd's that went all the way to the Mississippi Supreme Court, which was a senseless death at the hands of law enforcement," Coxwell said. "But I think there's a lot of people in the country, too, that think that everybody can protest if you want to, but you don't need to burn buildings down."

Hancock told Mississippi Today her comment was a poor joke and she wasn't serious about wanting anybody to die.

WLBT reached out to Hancock multiple times since Monday for an interview but she declined.

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