Man claims he was attacked by Bay St. Louis police officer

Man claims he was attacked by Bay St. Louis police officer

HANCOCK COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - A man has filed a report with the Hancock County Sheriff's Department claiming he was attacked by a Bay St. Louis police officer after making a comment about the late former chief Mike DeNardo.

Thomas J. Koenenn III claims he was choked by Officer John Nelson at Hancock Medical Center.

According to the report, it all started when Thomas was attacked by a group of men while he and his brother, Cody Koenenn, were hanging out at Joe's Lounge on Saturday night. Koenenn told the investigating deputy he was "knocked out" during the altercation and woke up to Cody shaking him.

The report says Nelson and Officer Matt Dickens responded to the scene and ordered the Koenenns to stay on the ground.

When Thomas told the officers he had been attacked, the officers reportedly told him he could go to the hospital or go to jail because he was drunk in public. Thomas told the officers he had not been drinking.

The report says Thomas and Cody were then taken to the Hancock County jail, but the jail refused to house them because they were still bleeding from the reported attack.

Nelson and Dickens then took the brothers to Hancock Medical Center, according to the report. Thomas reportedly told Nelson "crooked cops like you is the reason that the chief shot his self." According to the report, that's when Nelson grabbed Thomas by the throat and choked him. Nelson reportedly told Thomas "no one talks about the chief like that."

After the alleged attack, Thomas asked to be checked by medical staff again because his neck was hurting. Thomas reported he was laughed at, refused treatment, and then taken back to jail.

"It appears officer Nelson physically abused or was somehow excessive in force," said Glen Grannan, chief investigators with the Hancock County Sheriff's Department.

According to Grannan, the investigation is in the hands of the Bay St. Louis Police Department.

"It's not officially our responsibility. However, it is our fiduciary responsibility to make sure that everyone that's wearing a badge in Hancock County is held accountable," said Grannan.

Mayor Les Fillingame said there is an internal investigation into the matter.

"Of course there are other things involved, and typically body cams would have come into play, and this particular incident we didn't have that available, so it's become just an investigation of somebody's word against somebody else's word," said Fillingame.

At this time, the officer involved is still working and will be reprimanded based on the outcome of the investigation.

The FBI is still investigating DeNardo.

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