JPD and DA: Do the Right Thing | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

JPD and DA: Do the Right Thing

It's been a tough week. In addition to budget woes and ludicrous statements by the mayor about confiscating the nicest cars to sell, we have lost two beautiful women at the hands of their boyfriends. And mere competence by the Jackson Police Department might have saved both their lives.

George Bell III allegedly beat Heather Spencer to death with a flashlight and then kept her body in his mama's house all night before his attorney helped him surrender the next day. Two months ago, he had tried something similar—sneaking into her house and beating her with a hammer, necessitating 57 staples in her head. Police charged him with simple assault, but never arrested him. He went to rehab, then came out and apparently finished what he started.

A week to the night later, witnesses say, police were called to Doris Shavers' home at 2121 Ludlow St. Henry Phillips, her ex-boyfriend, whom she was allowing to stay in the spare room because he had a broken foot, had come home and threatened an 11-year-old neighbor kid with a gun. Shavers' brother, James Hopkins, told The Clarion-Ledger that police officers came, confiscated the weapons, but then gave them back to Phillips and left. Minutes later, Phillips walked into the house and shot Shavers who was sitting on the sofa with her 12-year-old daughter. She later died from a gunshot wound to the head.

It is not a stretch to say that these two women needed bodyguards—to help keep them safe from people they knew. What they needed more was a police department that cared enough to help them and prevent further violence, to make arrests and get them out of volatile situations. Instead, we have police brass throwing up their hands, saying that Spencer dropped charges. (As of this writing, they're saying nothing about Shavers.)

Most disturbing, good sources are telling us that Police Chief Shirlene Anderson is running a department based on loyalty—to her and the mayor—not experience. Unqualified-but-loyal officers are getting coveted detective jobs; good officers are leaving the force. And clearly, JPD does not even have a domestic-abuse policy that its officers are following—if they had, they surely would have provided a copy when we requested it rather than delaying for a couple weeks.

Meantime, D.A.-elect Robert Smith has two police officers— Kent Daniels and James Cornelius, we're told—assigned to watch over him 24-7 due to vague threats. The city cannot afford to pay for these bodyguards for a county official, especially when we are in such dire need of personnel elsewhere. And the chief's statement that every citizen can get protection if they need it is patently absurd.

Chief Anderson and new D.A. Smith need to act like responsible adults. She needs to tell the city, in detail, about how she's going to remedy past mistakes He needs to say "no thanks" and give those cops back to the city.

Previous Comments

ID
75338
Comment
The Ledger is reporting that the number of officers in Precinct 4 is down to 47, from 70. And the people of northeast Jackson wonder why crime is up? Because.little frankie.doesn't.know.anything.about.law.enforcement.
Author
Cliff Cargill
Date
2007-09-21T05:54:00-06:00
ID
75339
Comment
Folks, we're hearing that Robert Smith still has these bodyguards despite reports to the contrary. they're being seen sitting in court with him. And it's Kent Daniels, not Ken Daniels. I apologize for the error.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-26T11:33:37-06:00
ID
75340
Comment
BTW, Kent Daniels comes up in the cover story we're posting this afternoon. My understanding is that he is (was?) a Precinct 4 detective. Thus, the pertinent question is: Why is JPD giving up desperately needed police officers to sit in courtrooms while Robert Smith does his job? If the state/county—him soon-to-be employers—is concerned for his safety, then why in hell don't they pay for his security? This is an outrage.
Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2007-09-26T11:48:37-06:00
ID
75341
Comment
Of course he does. LOL! When and why should we believe anything from Melton's mouth? Seriously, what has he done that is on the level since taking office? What has he done without headache or scathing media rants? Even his most favored builder - Parkway (aka Speed) are still getting a pass on the infrastructure fees while everyone else downtown will now pay them! The Pinnacle at Jackson Place, a $43 million office building at Lamar and Capitol streets and the structure that spurred the change in ordinances, is the only one that will benefit from the short-lived exemption. Parkway Properties, which developed The Pinnacle, saved $126,480 in permit fees. There was no tally given on how much in combined fees Parkway saved. $126,000 is two to 3 well equipped police officers. It is a paved road, like Riverwood - Melton's street. It's a tax incentive for the Edison-Walthall which is about to go under.
Author
pikersam
Date
2007-09-26T11:50:44-06:00

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