Woman Alleges Police Brutality In Ocean Springs - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

02/12/04

Woman Alleges Police Brutality In Ocean Springs

Karen Nettles of Pascagoula says two Ocean Springs police officers used excessive force when they arrested her following a traffic stop late Saturday night.

The 32 year old woman, who had knee surgery last month, claims the officers ignored her repeated warnings to stop hurting her injured leg.

The Jackson County NAACP has also gotten involved with the police brutality allegations. A formal complaint alleges the woman's civil rights were violated while she was in police custody.

"I said, Jimmy, I said y'all please come and help me. These police won't believe me. They done hurt my leg."

Karen Nettles recounted the incident during a news conference in her living room in Pascagoula.

She says her ordeal began after a wrong turn late Saturday. Trying to turn into a convenience store, she found herself going the wrong way on Highway 90. An Ocean Springs officer made the traffic stop, then placed her under arrest when a check revealed an outstanding warrant on a trespassing charge in Pascagoula.

She warned the officers about her hurting knee.

"When he pushed me down on this side, we fell to the ground. And that's when I fell on my knee. And I went to screaming at them, cause I was in excruciating pain," she said.

Nettles says officers further injured the knee when they drug her to the police car and forced her into the back seat. She claims they got angry when she made a call on her cell phone.

"And then he went to reach to grab me under my neck. That's when he caught me on the face and busted my nose. And I don't know if, I still had my phone and I was like y'all help me please. they done busted my nose," she said.

The Ocean Springs police chief could not comment on details but says an internal investigation is underway.

"In cases like this, we're going to look into these accusations. We're going to interview. We're going to look into the facts and circumstances," said Chief Kerry Belk.

Although he declined to go on camera, a convenient store clerk who was on duty late Saturday told WLOX News the arrest caused quite a commotion in the parking lot. He says the whole incident lasted well over thirty minutes. He also said it appeared to him and several customers that the woman was resisting arrest and did not want to be handcuffed.

Karen Nettles says she was simply trying to protect her injured knee and officers refused to believe she was hurting.

"It's not my choice to be handicapped or to be in pain and can't walk fast enough because the police are telling me to walk, I'm not walking fast enough. It's not my choice for my leg to be messed up," she said.

The two officers remain on duty pending the results of the internal investigation. No charges have been filed against them.

Karen Nettles was ticketed for driving in the wrong lane and resisting arrest. Her court date is March 10th.

by Steve Phillips

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