Hall likely among first Hardy trial witnesses

ABERDEEN – Jury selection was scheduled to get under way mid-morning today in former Tupelo Police Capt. Cliff Hardy’s civil lawsuit against the city of Tupelo.
U.S. District Judge Sharion Aycock was set to preside at the session to begin at 9:40 a.m. in the federal courthouse.
Hardy sued the city in 2008, claiming he was pushed out of his Tupelo Police Department position after he made a public speech defending then-Chief Deputy Robert Hall, who Hardy believed was fired because of racial bias in the department.
Hardy is white and Hall is black.
Friday, Hall was listed as a first-day Hardy witness in the lawsuit for actual damages and legal fees.
New Tupelo Mayor Jack Reed Jr. and former Councilwoman Doyce Deas are among others subpoenaed to appear in court by Hardy’s attorney, Jim Waide of Tupelo.
Reed is scheduled to appear Wednesday, while Deas is among a larger group set to be called Tuesday.
The city of Tupelo, through its attorneys, claims it was justified in reassigning Hardy and insists his speech at a 2006 racial reconciliation forum was “reckless and false.”
Hall ultimately was fired, indicted and pleaded guilty to misdemeanors related to his release of a drunk driver after an accident, which severely injured a boy on a bicycle.
The driver, now a state prison inmate, Jamison Shells, is scheduled to testify Tuesday, along with Leroy McCarty, Priscilla Roth-Wall, Anthony Hill, Mike Russell, Randy Daniel, Leah Hardy, Jamie Harper, Katarsha White, Casey Hardy and John Lovorn.
Contact Patsy R. Brumfield at (662) 678-1596 or patsy.brumfield@djournal.com.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal

Click video to hear audio