JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Jackson Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba said he remains disappointed that the Mississippi Department of Public Safety terminated an agreement Monday to investigate officer-involved shootings in Jackson.
“We will not allow this political decision to deter us from those efforts and we will secure independent means of creating an objective process for investigation,” Lumumba said in a statement.
The move comes more than six months after the department entered into a partnership with the Jackson Police Department which would allow the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation to conduct its own investigations into those officer-involved cases.
DPS spokesperson Warren Strain said the agency’s decision came because of Lumumba’s decision to release the names of officers involved in those shootings within 72 hours.
“We will not compromise an investigation, nor endanger the lives of witnesses, officers, or their families, by being forced by a predetermined 72-hour timeline to release such information or deem a case/investigation complete as a matter of course,” Strain said.
Strain said MBI protocol dictates that the names of witnesses or officers involved in such cases will not be released while the investigation is pending and added that part of the agreement stated that “all media statements and releases shall be vetted through DPS," implying the city’s 72-hour policy would violate that agreement.
“We fully support and adhere to an impartial, fair, and transparent investigation,” Strain said.
In March, a 3 On Your Side investigation noted apparent miscommunication from JPD Interim Chief Anthony Moore that MBI had already been looking into those cases.
Courtney Ingle with DPS refuted those claims to WLBT.
One week later, Moore announced DPS had entered into a memo of understanding with the Jackson Police Department so that MBI could investigate them.
Lumumba then established an Officer ID Task Force the week after that, following our investigation into the department’s handling of recent officer-involved shooting deaths, including two cases where the same officer pulled the trigger.
Last month, the task force determined that JPD’s longstanding policy against releasing names should be changed to reflect recommendations from the U.S. Department of Justice, which suggests law enforcement agencies should release names within 72 hours.
“We remain committed to bridging the gap between our police force and our community,” Lumumba said. “Our decision to have a transparent process where we identify the officers within a reasonable period of time goes further to bring community interest into the fold as we build our police force and as we build a safer Jackson.”