Former Natchez mayor Larry “Butch” Brown arrested

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2010

NATCHEZ — Mississippi Department of Transportation Executive Director Larry L. “Butch” Brown was arrested early Friday morning at the Beau Rivage Casino in Biloxi on charges of disorderly conduct and public intoxication.

According to a statement released by the Biloxi Police Department, officers responded to a call at the Beau Rivage at approximately 5:43 a.m.

Casino security had placed Brown, 67, under citizens arrest, and Brown was transported to the Harrison County Adult Detention Center on a $480 bond.

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Brown, a former mayor of Natchez, has since been released from the detention center, and the Beau Rivage has dropped all charges. Brown was on the coast to make a speech to the Mississippi Economic Development Council on Thursday morning.

Brown returned to Natchez Friday afternoon, and said the incident was an “unfortunate escalation of a very ridiculous problem that was more perceptual than in reality.”

Brown said he was playing the penny slots at the Beau Rivage when a security officer approached him, and asked him to leave the premises.

“The (security officer) said he woke me up; I was sitting at the one-cent slot machine,” Brown said. “I’m not going to say I wasn’t (sleeping) or I was. It was early in the morning.”

Brown said he asked the security officer to check the slot machine to determine the last time he played, but the security officer kept insisting Brown leave the premises.

“Bottom line, the guy told me I had to leave the property,” Brown said. “When (the security officer) said that, I said, ‘I’m not going to leave the property. I’ll cash out and go to my room.’”

Brown said the security officer told him he could not return to his room at the casino hotel, and warned him he would be arrested if he didn’t follow orders.

“I told them, ‘Well, you better arrest me then. I got a room here, and I’m not going anywhere,’” Brown said.

When Biloxi Police arrived on the scene, officers transported Brown to the Harrison County Adult Detention Center. He made bond at approximately 7:30 a.m. and was released.

“By the time I got back (to the Beau Rivage), management knew what was going on,” Brown said. “They have been nothing but absolutely great. As far as I’m concerned it’s over. The Beau Rivage has accepted my apology and I’ve accepted theirs, and we’ve put this unfortunate incident behind us.

“It was a terrible, terrible, terrible misunderstanding. It’s embarrassing, but it was a simple escalation of a minor problem.”

Brown said he had been drinking before the incident, but was in no way drunk.

Attempts to reach Beau Rivage spokeswoman Mary Cracchiolo-Spain were unsuccessful Friday evening.