Walking Tall, Hitting Low | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Walking Tall, Hitting Low

Mayor Frank Melton's alleged attack on a Ridgeway Street duplex on Aug. 26 is not the first time his 4-foot-long stick showed up recently.

The owners and managers of the Upper Level Bar & Grill say that he, his "Flintstone-like" stick, his guns and his entourage have shown up to intimidate them other times this summer, even though they signed an agreement with the mayor a year ago to stop warrantless searches and harassment of the club staff and patrons. In a press conference in front of the Upper Level last week, their attorney Sharon Gipson called Melton's history of actions in the club "terrorist acts."

On July 8, 2006, Melton, along with JPD Chief Shirlene Anderson and numerous SWAT and patrol officers, came to the Upper Level, conducting searches without warrants, "wheeling a 'Flintstone like club' preceded to intimidate the management, staff and patrons with abusive and threatening and profane language," according to owner Sandra Johnson in a July 18 petition for a restraining order.

Witnesses say club management captured the incidents on videotape—including Melton carrying weapons in direct violation of the attorney general's warnings along with other officers "with drawn machine guns and officers clad in full riot gear."

Similar incidents occurred again on Melton's infamous night of living dangerously on Aug. 26, hours after he allegedly led a cadre of young men to destroy the Ridgeway Street duplex. Witnesses say the Mobile Command Center arrived at the Upper Level about 1:30 a.m. on Aug. 27. Melton and bodyguards, including JPD detectives Michael Recio and Marcus Wright, went inside where they saw manager, and the owner's son, Tonari Moore videotaping them from the bar. Wright arrested Moore, supposedly for videotaping undercover police officers, witnesses say.

Wright handcuffed an angry Moore and took him outside. There, next to the big RV, witnesses say that young men emerged from the vehicle and beat Moore up while he was in handcuffs. When an ambulance from AMR arrived, Melton jumped in and accompanied Moore to the University Medical Center.

Last Thursday, the Magnolia Bar Association, the Mississippi ACLU and attorneys for the owners of the Upper Level said those incidents, they say, are in direct violation of a legal agreement that the club reached with Melton and the city more than a year ago on July 8, 2005, days after Melton took his oath of office. Attorneys filed a motion for contempt against Melton for violating that agreement this July 18, though the motion has yet to have a hearing.

The motion for contempt states that the agreement established that any actions against the Upper Level must be approved by Judge Wise and that Melton "would not make continuous attempts to impede the Upper Level Bar and Grill's ability to conduct business or harass the club or its patrons," further stating that his actions "caused harm and loss of business to the Plaintiff. The documents also stated that Melton and Anderson agreed in 2005 to provide the Upper Level with a list of qualified officers to appear in uniform as security for the club, but haven't produced it.

Chancery Court Judge Patricia Wise recused herself from the case in August, but has not returned calls to the JFP explaining why. She is up for re-election this fall.

Melton told media that Wright merely restrained Moore after he refused to stop taking pictures of police.

Moore's attorney Sharon Gipson pointed out numerous holes in Melton's past explanations of the incident, however—especially his claim that one of the men on the RV was a deputy sheriff from Russia, when in fact he was a Russian exchange student working for Sheriff Malcolm McMillin and living in Melton's home. He has reportedly returned to Russian since the events of Aug. 26-27.

"At the same time we've had witnesses stating that he was intoxicated when these events occurred. Maybe that's why he can't remember … this was a night of terrorism, and it must be stopped," she said.

NAACP Jackson President Gus McCoy said that the city's populace should have expected Melton's disregard for civil rights to worsen as the months went on.

"My grandfather always had a saying: If you'll lie, you'll steal. If you'll steal, you'll kill. We started out with just profiling. Now we have citizens' rights being violated by the very folks who are supposed to protect them. What's next? Do you have to wait for someone to lose their life?" McCoy said.

Previous Comments

ID
80461
Comment

On July 8, 2006, Melton, along with JPD Chief Shirlene Anderson and numerous SWAT and patrol officers, came to the Upper Level, conducting searches without warrants, “wheeling a ‘Flintstone like club’ preceded to intimidate the management, staff and patrons with abusive and threatening and profane language,” according to owner Sandra Johnson in a July 18 petition for a restraining order. I'm still trying to wrap my head around why they felt the need to show up that night. For those of you who frequent Northside Drive, you may have noticed that in recent weeks, the Precinct 3 headquarters just moved to another building that is WITHIN WALKING DISTANCE of the Upper Level. If anything was going down at the club, a fleet of squad cars could be there in less than a minute. There's just no excuse for this.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-09-13T23:43:03-06:00
ID
80462
Comment

Chancery Court Judge Patricia Wise recused herself from the case in August, but has not returned calls to the JFP explaining why. She is up for re-election this fall. I think this is a good point. I see signs all over Jackson of people running for judgeships. Maybe we need to ask them how they see the actions of Melton, so the voters will know who is willing to uphold the laws and who is willing to pervert justice for Melton. Already some Meltonites have said Swan Yerger would rule on Melton's behalf. Wow! Also, where is the outrage from the Hind County Board of Supervisors? Especially, good old Doug Anderson, buddy-buddy pal with Melton? He's probably out buying Melton some lipstick! 8-p

Author
pikersam
Date
2006-09-14T09:19:00-06:00
ID
80463
Comment

Moore’s attorney Sharon Gipson pointed out numerous holes in Melton’s past explanations of the incident, however—especially his claim that one of the men on the RV was a deputy sheriff from Russia, when in fact he was a Russian exchange student working for Sheriff Malcolm McMillin and living in Melton’s home. He has reportedly returned to Russian since the events of Aug. 26-27. I read this and couldn't help thinking: What the hell kind of image of Mississippi, and of the United States, did this kid take back to Russia with him? This is very, very bad.

Author
Tim Kynerd
Date
2006-09-14T09:56:32-06:00
ID
80464
Comment

I read this and couldn't help thinking: What the hell kind of image of Mississippi, and of the United States, did this kid take back to Russia with him? Tim The Russian... oh yeah.... [singing] My love for you is like a truck, BERZERKER! Would you like some making #$%^, BERZERKER!

Author
pikersam
Date
2006-09-14T10:09:36-06:00
ID
80465
Comment

Can't the Upper Level release just one photo or video snapshot of Melton and his stick? Please! We can get pictures of Lindsy Lohans privates daily, and no one can leak one photo to the net of Melton!

Author
pikersam
Date
2006-09-14T16:17:46-06:00
ID
80466
Comment

I feel your pain, Pike. But I understand that there is a good reason why they can't.

Author
DonnaLadd
Date
2006-09-14T16:21:08-06:00
ID
80467
Comment

Cool, thanks for the post. I figure there is a good reason. Well maybe they could do something about Lindsy then! Lord keep that girl off the net and TV! ;-) That is some pain! LOL!

Author
pikersam
Date
2006-09-14T16:44:30-06:00
ID
80468
Comment

Also, where is the outrage from the Hind County Board of Supervisors? Especially, good old Doug Anderson, buddy-buddy pal with Melton? He's probably out buying Melton some lipstick! 8-p Oh yeah, the lipstick-on-a-pig guy. I wonder how he feels about his colleagues' decision to expedite Melton's case, etc. I doubt that we will know any time soon. I think this is what Melton's supporters will probably do during this ordeal: - If Melton resigns, they will publicly express regret and say they will maintain their friendships with him. - If Melton does not resign, is put on trial and is convicted, they will publicly express regret and say they will maintain their friendships with him. - If Melton does not resign, is put on trial and is exonerated, they will gloat more than a football team who just won the Super Bowl. I'm not guaranteeing that I'm right - just my opinion.

Author
LatashaWillis
Date
2006-09-16T23:13:55-06:00

Comments

Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

comments powered by Disqus