USA

Mississippi Town Sued After Its Former Police Chief Bragged About Killing Black People


A civil rights advocacy group on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in opposition to the city of Lexington, Mississippi, and referred to as for a federal investigation into what it described as “systemic, condoned racism” from the city’s authorities and police division.

The lawsuit particulars previous examples of police violence and misconduct in opposition to Black residents. JULIAN, the group that filed the go well with within the U.S. District Courtroom of Southern Mississippi, stated the incidents spotlight a top-down difficulty of racism in a city the place most residents are Black, and most of the people in management positions are white.

“According to data compiled by JULIAN and ACLU-Mississippi, the LPD has customarily violated the First, Fourth, and Fourteenth Amendments, the fundamental right to travel freely, and the Civil Rights Act,” the lawsuit alleges. “Over 200 Black citizens have formally or informally complained about being harassed, arrested, or fined for baseless reasons in the past year or so.”

JULIAN filed the go well with after recordings surfaced of Sam Dobbins, who was police chief within the city on the time, utilizing racial and homophobic slurs and bragging about killing a number of folks as a police officer. The city’s Board of Aldermen voted 3-2 to take away Dobbins from his function after the recording surfaced, and he was fired on July 20.

Within the recording, Dobbins describes taking pictures a Black man in a cornfield as “justified, bro.”

“I shot that n****r 119 times, OK?” he says within the expletive-laden recording that additionally contains the assertion: “I don’t talk to fucking queers, I don’t talk to fucking f****ts.”

Dobbins additionally tells an officer within the recording that he had killed 13 folks in his profession, and that he was pleased with the truth that the Lexington group “fears” him, in keeping with the lawsuit.

JULIAN is requesting that the courtroom difficulty a brief restraining order in opposition to the Lexington Police Division to cease officers from “threatening, coercing, harassing, assaulting or interfering” with residents’ constitutional rights. The order would require the division to overtake lots of its insurance policies associated to policing, together with these pertaining to extreme drive and visitors stops, and town to determine a civilian legislation enforcement evaluate board.

Black residents make up about 86% of Lexington, a city of lower than 1,800 folks. In its lawsuit, JULIAN calls the city

tiny and deeply segregated,” and says it’s “controlled” by a rich white household, in addition to a white mayor, former police chief, metropolis choose and metropolis legal professional.

“Every single branch of government is controlled by white people in a town that is 86% black,” Jill Collen Jefferson, the president and founding father of JULIAN, instructed HuffPost. “This is Jim Crow at its finest. What I want people to see is that this never ever stopped.”

The lawsuit additional alleges Lexington police retaliated in opposition to Black group members after a gathering the place residents met to talk about their grievances in opposition to the division on April 7. The assembly’s most “outspoken” individuals — Robert Harris and Darius Harris — had been arrested after the assembly, the lawsuit reads.

“The retaliation and baseless arrests that Plaintiffs Robert and Darius Harris experienced are consistent with how LPD treats any Black resident who stands up for themselves, speaks out, or dares to live their lives in Lexington. In fact, Plaintiffs Robert and Darius Harris had been falsely arrested in retaliation for opposing police harassment in the past,” the go well with says.

The lawsuit additional alleges that between 2021 and 2022, many different Black residents had been falsely arrested, pressured to bear “baseless” searches and seizures, and had been subjected to “unreasonable” drive by Lexington cops in the event that they spoke out in opposition to their arrest.

The Lexington Police Division didn’t reply to requests for touch upon the lawsuit.

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