Combing through my notes from Tuesday’s trial, Cliff Hardy v. Tupelo:
Buddy McCarty – Tupelo architect, said he’s come to know former TPD Capt. Cliff Hardy as a participant in the Senior Services volunteer program, which he helped Hardy set up.
“Cliff loves and breathes the Police Department,” McCarty said.
He also said he got to know then-Deputy Chief Robert Hall, who” wanted to try new things.”
Robert Hall – Former TPD deputy chief. (See Wednesday’s Daily Journal for the guts of his testimony)
Prior to the Jamison Shells incident – the hit-and-run accident Hall got squeezed by – Hall had never had any accusations of bad conduct, he said.
He also said he got interested in becoming a policeman by watching the TV show, “Adam 12.”
About the Shells incident:
Hall said he knew Shells’ family from church and knew Shells from after-church basketball games.
He said he found out about the accident – Shells’ vehicle struck a child riding a bicycle – when Shells’ mother called him. She said her son had runover somebody on the Hwy 45 bypass and pulled over at Hardee’s to all 911.
“I said I’d check it out,” he said. He called Chief Chaffin and got his permission to check on the situation.
He said he became concerned when he saw that a couple of officers at the scene had complaints against them. Later, Shells complained he was assaulted by them.
He said he was concerned about potential liability to the city and ordered Shells be brought back from the jail and released, knowing more investigation needed to be done. Charges could come later, which is common, he added.
Doyce Deas – former city councilwoman.
Helped organize the October 2006 public forum on racial reconciliation.
She said after Hardy’s speech in defense of Hall, she felt it substantiated reports she’d received from other community residents.
Mike Russell – TPD sergeant. Succeeded Hardy as PAL coordinator. “I had very high regard for him,” he said of Hardy.
He said he didn’t believe Hardy’s speech caused a morale problem at TPD.
Katarsha White - new TPD sergeant. Worked with Hardy in Community Oriented Policing. Called him a very fair, good supervisor.
About his speech, she said, “I don’t think it changed morale. It was already where it was going to be. I don’t think it changed anything.”
Anthony Hill – TPD major, Hardy’s immediate supervisor. “I had no idea,” he answered, about why Hardy’s wide-ranging responsibilities were taken away by Chief Chaffin.
About Hardy’s speech, he said it didn’t affect him one way or the other.
Dr. Priscilla Roth-Wall – clinical psychologist of Tupelo. Diagnosed Hardy as severely depressed with severe anxiety.
She held her ground against city attorney John Hill, who tried to get her to say Hardy was just a paranoid person.
She said no, he was not afraid of everything, just that he was fearful about what had happened to him and what might happen to him – because he had seen what had happened to Hall, when people wanted him out of the way.
Jack Reed Jr. – Tupelo’s new mayor. Educated as an attorney. Responded to all questions, every guardedly, as an attorney would. He declined to say he had engineered a job for Robert Hall with CDF, for which Reed was to be president soon.
John Lovorn – owns Tupelo exec search firm, The Pace Group. Was facilitator at 2006 forum, where Hardy spoke. Said attendees voted on top issues of concern: 99 points for hiring of minorities in public schools and city government, 62 points for discrimination in law enforcement/police department. The third-highest issue got 19 points.
He said it was not inappropriate for a police officer to speak at the forum.
“I believe in the First Amendment … to say what you want to say.”
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