DPS Commissioner Sean Tindell clears state trooper of wrongdoing in McComb incident
BILOXI, Miss. (WLOX) - Following the release of vehicle camera footage of an incident involving a state trooper in McComb, Mississippi Department of Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell says the situation couldn’t have been handled any better.
On August 5, Trooper Hayden Falvey pulled over Eugene Lewis for speeding on a rural road. Falvey was by himself. After Lewis admitted to using marijuana, Lewis was handcuffed and told he was under arrest. As Falvey tried to get Lewis into the cruiser, things quickly escalated.
Lewis’ brothers arrived on the scene and refused to leave as ordered by Falvey as the men recorded the activity.
The Highway Patrol video does show during the struggle to get Lewis in the car, Falvey puts his hands -- and at one point, elbow -- around the suspect’s neck.
According to Mississippi Public Safety Commissioner Sean Tindell, Falvey’s actions were appropriate under the circumstances.
“In looking at the incident, I would note that the individual during most of that time period was continuing to talk, and the trooper was trying to get him restrained so he could get his seatbelt on and they could get out of there,” said Tindell. “When somebody is resisting arrest, what happens in a split second or moment could be freeze framed and painted in a different light, but the reality is that gentleman was not choked.”
Tindell says medical professionals who arrived on the scene determined Lewis did not need to be taken to a hospital for further medical attention.
“If it was up to me, I would nominate him for Trooper of the Year,” he said. “He did a great job, kept his cool, and he maintained the situation. Many folks might have panicked, but he adhered to his training and did a good job of maintaining the scene and keeping his head about him and securing the subject.”
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