WATCH: Mississippi Cop Fired for Punching Handcuffed Man
Jackson police officer Justin Roberts is black, prompting some commenters on social media to say that was the sole reason he was fired.
But the Jackson Police Department is being sued by a former white police officer claiming she was fired because she is white.
Jackson Police Chief Lee Vance, who is black, stated the following about the firing of Roberts, according to KPLC.
“We’ve been talking for months about how we’re not going to condone misconduct on behalf of JPD police officers,” Chief Vance explained. “It’s not representative of what were trying to build here and it’s certainly not an indicator as to how the rest of our police officers behave.”
Saturday’s incident took place after Jackson police were called to a hair salon on a report of a disturbance. Witnesses told KPLC the disturbance surrounded a man named Ladarius Brown, whose car was being repossessed.
Witnesses said Brown know Roberts, allowing the cop to handcuff him. But then the situation escalated as Roberts was walking the handcuffed man to the patrol car.
Not much more information has been released on the incident, but it took internal affairs two days to conclude Roberts needed to be fired, which is unheard of in the normal world of policing.
In September, Chief Vance fired another cop after he had been arrested on bribery charges. That cop, Melvin Williams, was also black.
This is what Chief Vance told the Clarion Ledger after that termination:
“It’s never easy to see one of our officers arrested and charged with a crime. It’s embarrassing for me personally, and it’s embarrassing for the police department, but truth be told, it’s a step forward for us,” Vance said. “We can’t build the type police department that we seek to have, we can’t have the image we’re trying to achieve, and we can’t have the trust within the neighborhoods if we’ve got police officers that are committing criminal acts in our uniform.”
A m0nth before that arrest, Chief Vance fired another cop who was caught on video flirting with a 17-year-old girl,suggesting they get a room together. That cop, Darryl Stasher, was also black.
Vance fired Stasher 24 hours after the video surfaced. This is how he was quoted in WLBT:
“The behavior that was displayed was far out of line,” said Vance.
Less than 24 hours later, Stasher was out of job.
“I am telling you that my tolerance level for things like this is zero. We have too much to do. We came too far,” said Vance. “So non-productive police who can’t follow our policies, who can’t be professional, who have displayed issues as far who have displayed issues are far as character have no place the Jackson Police Department.”
The white officer suing Vance for racial discrimination was arrested and fired last year after she was involved in a domestic abuse incident with another cop who is black, but who was not fired or terminated. That lawsuit is still pending.
This is what Vance had to say about that suit, according to WJTV.
“I’m not afraid about anything as it relates to this lawsuit,” Vance said. “Once you get into a court of law, when people start to make claims, they must prove those claims. If you testify in a court of law, you must testify under oath, which basically means you must tell the truth or you could be held criminally liable.”
Considering the city of Jackson consists of a population that is 79 percent black, then it makes sense that the police department is mostly black, if that is even the case.
What is out of the norm is for a police chief to waste no time in firing officers who step out of line regardless of their skin color.