Is there enough evidence to charge a second deputy? - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Is there enough evidence to charge a second deputy?

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

We have new information about the deadly fight involving a Hinds County sheriff's deputy and a youth basketball coach. A second deputy, on duty and in uniform, could also play a role in 25 year old Justin Griffin's death.

That Hinds County deputy was at the Mississippi Basketball and Athletics building in Jackson when the fight escalated. Twenty-five year old Justin Griffin died from blunt force trauma and strangulation.

The un-named deputy is on administrative leave, according to the Hinds County Sheriff's Office.

The community is up in arms and people are verbally attacking the Jackson Police Department because this man has not been arrested and charged.

Jackson Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance says,

"We are in the process of finishing up our case as it relates to that individual," said Jackson Assistant Police Chief Lee Vance. "Once we finish it, it's mandated that that case be presented to either a Hinds County Grand Jury or to a judge during a probable cause hearing."

But, is there evidence showing the un-named deputy should be arrested? Vance says that will be determined through one of the hearings.

"The purpose of those will be to see whether or not an arrest warrant will be issued," said Vance.  If they allow us to or mandate that we have an arrest warrant issued, then we will proceed in making that arrest."

The Mississippi statue 99-3-28 states, the man can not be arrested before one of the two hearings is held. Before an arrest warrant is issued against a teacher or law enforcement officer for a criminal act, which is alleged to have occurred while the officer or teacher is on duty, a probable cause hearing must be held before a circuit court judge.

Vance says the Hinds County District Attorney has the option of choosing whether the on duty deputy will stand before a judge for a probable cause hearing, or before a grand jury.

"We want people to know that we are going to follow the law," said Vance. "This is mandated by law and this is not an arbitrary decision that's being made by any individual."

Hinds County District Attorney Robert Shuler Smith, according to Vance, is the individual who decides whether the case involving the second deputy will go before a grand jury or before a Hinds County Circuit Court Judge for a probable cause hearing. We contacted Smith's office for a comment about this case, but our calls have not yet been returned.

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