BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Bay St. Louis Mayor Mike Favre admits a video that reportedly shows Bay St. Louis Police Chief Darren Freeman restraining a handcuffed suspect led to the chief's sudden resignation. "It has played into that fact, yes," Mayor Favre told WLOX News Now Tuesday morning.
Favre says the video is from a May arrest. But, the mayor only saw it 10 days ago.
In the surveillance footage, Favre describes seeing Freeman restrain a handcuffed suspect on a drug bust. He says the chief had one hand on the suspect's face holding him down. The other hand was on his chest.
In recent days, talk around the city indicated the chief has a choke hold on the individual in custody. Mayor Favre would not use those words while describing what he saw on the video.
WLOX News Now filed a Freedom of Information Act on Friday to obtain a copy of that video. Bay St. Louis has a few more days to respond to that request.
Freeman submitted his resignation Monday. The Bay St. Louis City Council meets Tuesday. The newest item on the council's agenda is a search for the city's next police chief.
During a phone conversation Monday with WLOX News Now, Freeman said he met with Mayor Mike Favre earlier in the day, and the two came to a mutual agreement it was time for a change in department leadership. At that time, WLOX did not ask the chief asked about the video.
In a text sent to WLOX News Now Monday night, Mayor Favre said, " It is my intent to actively seek a replacement for our city's top law enforcement position so that the Bay St. Louis Police Department has a leader that will further its mission of serving our citizens with integrity."
Freeman said he plans to remain on the job and available to help whomever the mayor and city council tap to lead the police department. There is no timetable for his last day on the job.
Freeman took over at a time when the Bay St Louis Police Department was in crisis after the suicide of chief Mike DeNardo. He was initially hired as interim chief in January. The interim tag got removed in July after Favre took the oath of office and became Bay St. Louis mayor.
DeNardo, who shot himself outside the Bay St. Louis Police Department on Sept. 8, 2016, was under investigation for alleged payroll fraud. The Hancock County Sheriff's Department turned over that portion of a multi-faceted investigation to the FBI.
Neither federal authorities nor the sheriff's department have discussed the status of the DeNardo probe, but Freeman said he expects the details from the investigation to come out within the next six months.
Freeman also said he's proud of the work he has done by moving the department forward since DeNardo's death. He said he's most proud of the men and women of the Bay St. Louis Police Department.
"I think the department has made a remarkable turnaround. The guys and ladies who work there have done a great job. The morale is up 100 percent," Freeman said
According to Mayor Favre, "It will be my top priority to find a candidate that is qualified and supportive of my administration's commitment to accountability, responsiveness and transparency."
Freeman was previously the director of internal affairs for Mississippi Highway Patrol and brought 23 years of law enforcement experience to the Bay. According to Freeman, he's already looking at "other opportunities."