NAACP investigates police shooting of unarmed black man

By Al Showers - bio | email

PEARL RIVER COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Thirty-year-old Kirmon Warren of Slidell says it all began on his way to Mendenhall to visit his mother. He stopped in Poplarville to get gas and came upon a police road block.

"One officer walked up and asked me why I had my hands in my pocket.  I told him it was no reason, and I took my hand out my pocket.  I raised my hands and he told me to give him everything in my pocket.  I followed his orders and gave him everything out of my pocket," Warren said.

At this point, Warren said things got ugly.

"They opened the door and tried to snatch me out the car.  I had my seat belt on because I'm at a check point and my car is still in drive.  They tried to snatch me out the car.  They said I'm resisting, and I'm telling them I'm not resisting.  If they'd look they'd see I'm in my seat belt. Next thing I know, they're tazing me.  As they are tazing, they're still trying to snatch me out the car," Warren said.

Warren said the marks left from the tazing proves he had his hands up.  He said at that point, one of the four officers at the scene fired two shots through his back window, striking him in his back.

"I felt the blood, and I felt my whole side was wet.  I looked at my girl who was riding with me and said, 'They shot me.'  I just pulled off, I panicked," Warren said.

State and Pearl River County NAACP leaders met with the Poplarville Mayor and Police Chief Thursday. They wanted to know why the officer who shot Warren is back on the job patrolling the streets.

"We would like to see the officer, first off, taken off the streets again until this investigation has been conducted," said Rev. Jimmy Richardson, President of the Pearl River County NAACP.

Police Chief Charlie Fazende said the officer was given five days off right after the incident, but his department had no policy in place to deal with officers involved in a shooting.

"The mayor can only suspend with pay.  The board can suspend without pay," Poplarville Mayor Billy Spiers said.

Chief Fazende told the group he felt the officer was ready and capable to go back to work.

"I would like to see it come from a professional opinion whether or not he's mentally fit to be placed back on the streets. What we would like to see happen is policies and procedures put in place. We would like to see it go before the Board of Aldermen so they can vote on it one way or another," Richardson said.

"Our whole intent is to be sure that if his civil rights are violated, somebody should answer for it," said Clarence Magee, Mississippi NAACP Vice President.

Warren spent three days in the hospital. He was charged with felony fleeing and six misdemeanor traffic violations.

Chief Fazende told WLOX he'll be able to give his officers side of the story once the State Bureau of Investigations has concluded its investigation.

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