TPD officer investigation continues

By Danza Johnson/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – No timeline has yet been announced for completion of a police investigation into the possibility of wrongdoing by a high-ranking Tupelo officer.
Tupelo Police Department’s internal affairs division is investigating a Nov. 24 incident in which a police officer allegedly removed his son from the scene after he ran into a building on Robert E. Lee Drive. The officer’s name has not yet been made public.
Police Chief Tony Carleton has said that he will release details of the investigation when it’s complete, but there’s no timeline on when that will be.
Mayor Jack Reed Jr. said this week, “We are still looking into it.”
The issue prompted discussion during a City Council work session last week when the two black council members, Nettie Davis of Ward 4 and Willie Jennings of Ward 7, said their constituents are wondering whether a double standard exists within the department when dealing with white officers and black officers.
The officer under investigation is believed to be white.
Davis compared the Nov. 24 incident to what happened with now-former Deputy Police Chief Robert Hall, who released an impaired hit-and-run driver after a May 2006 accident.
Hall, who is black, was demoted and eventually charged with crimes. He pleaded guilty to misdemeanors to avoid further prosecution.
Several Tupelo citizens interviewed by the Daily Journal hoped for a quick resolution of the current investigation.
“If this officer did wrong, then something should be done about it,” said James Langston of Tupelo. “It almost seems like they are taking so long in hopes the public just forgets that it’s going on.”
“We knew Robert Hall’s name pretty quickly,” Langston, who is white, recalled. “Fair is fair, so I think the details involving this officer should be released.”
Tupelo police officers interviewed for this story had mixed opinions on the length of the investigation and the comparison to the Hall case, but they declined to be quoted by name.

Contact Danza Johnson at (662) 678-1583 or danza.johnson@djournal.com.