Police officers mum about charges made against them

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 19, 2001

Friday, October 19, 2001

The Natchez Democrat

NATCHEZ – Police Chief Willie Huff said Thursday he will not

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comment on allegations made Wednesday against police until he

receives a transcript of the meeting.

The complaints were made by more than 20 citizens during a

Wednesday night meeting of NAACP officials and the Board of Aldermen’s

police committee.

Complaints aired ran the gamut from alleged racial profiling

and harassment to beatings by police, ticket and arrest quotas

and unfair firing of police officers. &uot;I’m not going to comment

on specific allegations until I’m (officially) apprised of what

those allegations are,&uot; said Huff, adding that he hopes soon

to get a court reporter’s transcript of the meeting.

&uot;I need to be notified of what was learned at that meeting,&uot;&160;he


Capt. Mike Mullins and Investigator Gary Nations, two officers

who were named in the meeting, said they cannot legally comment

on personnel matters.

Some cases have already been through the court system and are

therefore public record, they said.

But they also declined to comment on any allegations until

they can review copies of the meeting transcripts &uot;and have

fully consulted with our attorneys,&uot;&160;Nations said.

Currently, three internal investigations of police complaints

are classified as &uot;open and active.&uot; In the last 18

months, 21 reprimands and five suspensions were issued to officers,

and one officer was fired.

Seven complaints were dropped and warnings were given or counseling

was ordered in seven other cases, according to department statistics.

Officers issued 10,847 warnings to those stopped for traffic

violations in 2001. Also last year, 4,221 traffic citations were

issued, 56 percent of which were issued to black people.

As of Oct. 1, 27 of the department’s 50 sworn officers were

black, up from 25 of 50 officers two years ago. Of all officers,

sworn and non-sworn, 52 of 81 are black, compared to 50 of 82

two years ago.

In 2000, 15 percent of the calls for service the department

received came from Beat 1; 18 percent from Beat 2; 27 percent

from Beat 3; 13 percent from Beat 4; 16 percent from Beat 5; and

11 percent from Beat 6.

Beats 1, 2 and 3 cover the north end of town; Beat 5 covers

downtown; and beats 4 and 6 extend from the south end of town

up to Liberty Road.