By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal
TUPELO – The president of Tupelo-Lee County’s NAACP chapter demanded the ouster of Tupelo Police Chief Tony Carleton and Police Maj. Jackie Clayton after what he called the mishandling of a traffic accident involving Clayton’s son.
The Rev. Harold Arrington spoke before the mayor and City Council during Tuesday’s council meeting at City Hall.
Afterward, Carleton told the Daily Journal the matter already had been extensively investigated and that Clayton’s actions weren’t criminally negligent.
Disciplinary actions were taken, he said, and the matter is considered closed.
It’s the first time Clayton has been publicly identified since the Nov. 27 accident in which his son drove a vehicle into a building on Robert E. Lee Drive. News of the incident quickly became public, however, and many criticized the high-ranking officer for retrieving his son from the accident scene.
Arrington also criticized the department’s decision not to fire Clayton. He compared the incident to the May 2006 release of a hit-and-run suspect by then-Police Deputy Chief Robert Hall. Hall later was criminally charged in connection with that incident and ultimately resigned from the police force.
“Hall lost his position and certification for removing a young man from the scene of an accident,” Arrington said. “There hasn’t been anything done to Officer Clayton … . We feel that the law has not been applied equally.”
Also speaking was local NAACP member and a pastor, Jack Shelton. He alleged unfair promotions practices in the department.
Carleton said each incident is unique and can’t truly be compared.