Alderman cleared of disturbing charges set to sue Sheriff Byrd, others

Ocean Springs Alderman James Hagan
Ocean Springs Alderman James Hagan

JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - Ocean Springs Alderman James Hagan is going after Jackson County and its sheriff's department. Hagan plans to file a lawsuit against the two for the charges previously against him, including possession of child porn, embezzlement, and molestation.

A Grand Jury dismissed all charges at the end of 2012, saying there was not enough evidence against Hagan to indict him.

During the investigation, Hagan never resigned his position as an Ocean Springs alderman. He did, however, lose his job as a building inspector for the City of Moss Point. At one point, Hagan's nine-year-old son was also taken into custody by the Department of Human Services.

Hagan said Sheriff Mike Byrd and Detective Hope Thornton abused their law enforcement powers by falsely arresting, incarcerating and defaming Hagan. And that Hagan suffered severe emotional, physical and financial stress and injury as a direct result of being targeted and arrested by the sheriff, Detective Thornton and the Jackson County Sheriff's Department.

Hagan told WLOX News in December, "It's even hard to describe. It's been definitely the most difficult position I've ever been in my life. I've lost things that can never be replaced."

[Read the full December 2012 interview with Hagan in our WLOX News Archives:]

Hagan's attorney told WLOX News his client will seek $500,000 per violation.

Sheriff Byrd said he welcomes this lawsuit. Byrd released a statement Friday saying, "A civil trial will bring our side of this case to light, and the truth can finally be told. Unfortunately, my hands are tied by the Rules of Professional Conduct, which prevent law enforcement officers from making extrajudicial statements about ongoing investigations. That rule prevents me from commenting about specifics of any ongoing case. In court, however, everything will come out. If Mr. Hagan wants a court battle, I'm ready."

If you'd like to read the full text of Hagan's notice of the lawsuit, visit:

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