JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - The attorney for the alleged victim of a police officer accused of exploitation of a minor held a fiery press conference Tuesday, leveling allegations of a cover-up at Jackson Police Department.
Lisa Ross minced no words when she accused the Jackson Police Department of shady business in the arrest of officer Mark Coleman, a 24-year veteran accused of exploitation of a minor.
“I think that there’s an attempt by someone in JPD to cover up for Mr. Coleman or to assist him in avoiding scrutiny for his actions,” Ross said.
Chief James Davis assured the public that there is no cover-up, but that Coleman was arrested as soon as police knew his identity as the officer who had bought the alleged victim a phone. JPD, he said, is working the case like it was any other citizen.
“We’re going to do our job. We’re going to do it fair, and we ask the public to allow us to do our job without speculating,” he said.
Ross’ client was a runaway, she said. She said Coleman and her client met as Coleman was executing his duties as a police officer.
Ross alleges that someone inside the department asked the judge for favors. Davis strongly denies that allegation.
“Who in your department called the judge and asked the judge to release this man on an unsecured bond?” Ross demanded to know.
“We don’t deal with bonds and I don’t want to get in the bond business. We just do our part: We find the facts and we execute the facts with what we had. We made an arrest, we did exactly what JPD was supposed to have done,” the chief responded.
Ross called for Coleman’s firing, saying, in her opinion, he could have a hearing after he was fired.
“He has not been convicted. Everyone gets their day in court,” Davis said. “We followed our policy to the letter.”
Ross was the attorney who called a press conference last year in the case of an officer allegedly involved with an underaged woman. Just after she addressed the media, the officer committed suicide.
In today’s press conference, she alleged that if JPD had completed that investigation instead of ending it at his death, they might have found Coleman before he allegedly got to her client.
Davis was having none of that comparison.
“It’s sad that people want to speculate on that. Its a tragic situation, it’s very sad that she’d try to put those two cases together,” Davis said.