JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Several Jackson police officers are taking on top brass at the department and City Hall to return to active duty. In our Exclusive one-on-one, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba responds for the first time about the officers who say they have been cleared by the Civil Service Commission after they were involved in use of force cases.
Eleven Jackson Police officers asked the Civil Service Commission to investigate their reassignments. In July, about seven months after they were placed on modified assignment, the Commission ruled they should be put back on duty.
Attorneys for several of the officers who were involved in use of force cases have asked the courts to step in to force city officials to follow the ruling by the Civil Service Commission.
Mayor Lumumba says he is limited in what he can say.
“I’m not able to go in depth because it is in litigation,” Mayor Lumumba said. “What I will say is the city has enacted a policy that has been utilized on officers in this position. This is not a punitive measure. These officers are still being paid by the City of Jackson. What this is, is a protective measure to make sure that we’re taking every precaution to make certain that these officers are cleared by the legal process. We’re not ignoring the decision of the Civil Service Commission."
The mayor explains why the City needs that reassurance from the District Attorney's office.
Mayor Lumumba said, “What we’re saying is we want some notice or some acknowledgement from the District Attorney’s office saying no charges will ensue. Once we do that, then we’re prepared to do that, prepared to bring them back if that happens. For those officers that are on leave for that purpose, some of those named individuals were dismissed with cause and they know the reason they were dismissed with cause and that’s all I will say.”
The mayor says the city has a responsibility to the citizens of Jackson and to the process in place for officers. “I’m not even accusing these officers per se of wrongdoing there is a process so I don’t want that misconstrued,” said Mayor Lumumba.
Mayor Lumumba also responds to what he says is the misperception that he is anti-police.
“I am not anti-police, in fact I have represented police officers. I have relationships with several people who are officers. I am against corrupt police officers, I am against police misconduct, and police brutality, and I will expect and do expect that officers would be against those things as well,” he said.