UPDATE: Day 2 – Hardy v. Tupelo

ABERDEEN – Interesting first full day of testimony.

The morning’s impact witness was former City Councilwoman Doyce Deas, a member of the four-person committee appointed to look into allegations of racial bias in employment decisions in Tupelo city government.

Deas testified that she believed plaintiff Cliff Hardy’s speech at an October 2006 racial reconciliation forum was important because she wanted to know what a police insider thought about allegations.

And she told the jury his accusations later were “substantiated” that former Deputy Chief Robert Hall was “mistreated” by TPD, when he was suspended and demoted after he sent a driver home from an accident in which a bicycle-riding youth was injured.

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Robert Hall took the stand before Deas and told his side of what happened during his involvement with the accident. He also talked about his subsequent job difficulties leading up to his indictment on accusations surrounding his actions related to the accident.

Hall spoke well on his on behalf. Watch for Emily Le Coz’s blog for more on his testimony and Wednesday’s Daily Journal report by both of us.

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Jim Waide of Tupelo is Cliff Hardy’s lead attorney as Hardy tried to convince the eight-member jury that he was pushed out of his captain’s job as Internal Affairs officer and coordinator of numerous community policing programs. He’s assisted by Shane McLaughlin.

Attorneys for the city are John S. Hill and Berkley Huskison of the Mitchell McNutt & Sams law firm.

Huskison may not be aware of it, but he has addressed the two black men to testify today by their first names – Robert and Anthony, while he addressed Sgt. Michael Russell, a white man, as “Sergeant” and did not call by name Katarsha White, a new police sergeant who once worked with Hardy.

Hill, who questioned Deas, called her “Mrs. Deas.”

From Emily Le Coz’s blog

Mayor Jack Reed Jr. and his formal political challenger Doyce Deas both testified at the trial of Cliff Hardy versus the City of Tupelo on Tuesday morning. They joined several other witnesses called by Hardy’s attorneys in their case that the city unfairly punished Hardy, a former Tupelo police captain.

Reed was guarded and careful in his testimony. He denied having specifically helped Hall get his CDF job, although he admitted he was “concerned” about the situation and had personally talked to Police Chief Harold Chaffin and District Attorney John Young about it.

Doyce Deas said Hardy’s public statement at an Oct. 12, 2007 Race Relations Forum (the one where he denounced the Hall investigation) substaniated earlier statements made by residents about racial discrimination and other unsavory things going on in the police department. She also said she felt it was appropriate that Hardy spoke at that meeting, which she helped organize as a member of the City Council’s subcommittee on race.

Click here for more at Emily Le Coz’s blog.

Read more in tomorrow’s NEMS Daily Journal.

Patsy R. Brumfield/NEMS Daily Journal