Pelahatchie mayor suspends police chief for insubordination

Updated: Aug. 30, 2019 at 6:08 PM CDT
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PELAHATCHIE, Miss. (WLBT) - Pelahatchie Mayor Ryshonda Beecham has suspended Police Chief Joseph Daughtry for insubordination, effective immediately and until further notice.

The decision was made public in a letter Friday, where states she plans to recommend the board terminate him.

She’s appointed officer Travis Crane as interim. Daughtry was made aware of the suspension Thursday.

The suspension will be with pay, though Beechem did not indicate that.

State law and a 2001 attorney general’s opinion indicates only the board of aldermen in a code charter form of government can suspend employees without pay.

The mayor claims the chief created a hostile environment, saying there are videos from August 26 showing him saying he doesn’t have to do anything she says because he works for the Board of Alderman during a confrontation over her not signing paychecks.

Mayor Pro-tem Margie Warren says the board hired Joseph Daughtry to run the police department and he’s done a good job.

“People are just crazy about him. He goes to the schools, goes to the games, he’s dealing with the kids all the time. Everybody’s in love with him," said Warren. “This town would fight for him right now.”

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The mayor also says she’s been contacted by the FBI about Daughtry moving a handcuffed man out of camera view and slapping the man twice. She says that investigation is ongoing and could be a civil rights violation.

Business leaders cooking for city employees Friday also said they support the Chief.

Chris Lyle said, “To me he’s done a great job. I’ve backed him since day one, and I’ll always back him. I hate this has happened. I met his wife the other day for the first time, a sweet sweet lady, that’s why we’re here today cooking for these employees. This community cares about these employees. We don’t want to see anybody suffer.”

Calls to Mayor Beechem and Chief Daughtry were not returned Friday.

Board members have scheduled a special meeting for 6 p.m. Friday, where they plan to veto the Mayor’s suspension of the Chief and re-instate him.

The Rankin County Sheriff’s Office has agreed to step in and assist over the holiday weekend to assure the safety of the community.

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