Tupelo officer faces excessive force allegation

By Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – A Tupelo police officer is on administrative leave after allegedly using excessive force during a traffic stop last month.
Police Chief Tony Carleton confirmed the situation, but provided few details about the officer or the incident.
“There was a situation involving one of our officers and a furniture market patron,” Carleton said. “As soon as it was brought to my attention the officer was put on administrative leave until an investigation can be completed. That is all I can say about it at this time.”
The stop occurred sometime during the Aug. 18-22 Fall Tupelo Furniture Market and involved an out-of-town market participant. At some point during the stop, the officer allegedly struck the individual in the head with a flashlight.
The person suffered lacerations and required medical treatment.
City attorney John Hill also confirmed the situation but had no knowledge of what prompted the traffic stop or why the officer reportedly struck the motorist.
The incident is under investigation by the Police Department’s internal affairs division.
Tupelo Furniture Market owner V.M. Cleveland was not immediately available for comment.
Held twice annually, the market draws thousands of national and foreign furniture buyers and sellers to Tupelo. It’s among the city’s biggest events.
Danza Johnson contributed to this report.
emily.lecoz@journalinc.com; danza.johnson@journalinc.com

Click video to hear audio