BAY ST. LOUIS, MS (WLOX) - Matt Issman has been named acting police chief in Bay St. Louis following the resignation of Darren Freeman. Freeman's last day was Tuesday. The announcement was made during Tuesday's city council meeting.
We're told Issman was retired and was working for the police department part-time. The search for a permanent chief is ongoing.
In front of the city council, Mayor Mike Favre read the resignation letter written by Freeman. The resignation comes just eight months after Freeman was brought in to lead the police department.
Favre said a video that reportedly shows Freeman restraining a handcuffed suspect during a drug bust in May led to the chief's sudden resignation. The video allegedly shows Freeman holding down the suspect and holding a hand to his face.
"He's the police chief and he's held to higher standards in that department," Favre said.
Favre said though the video was recorded months ago, he only saw it 10 days ago.
"It's a hard decision we made and sometimes you have to make that decision," Favre said.
WLOX News Now has filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain the video. Bay St. Louis City Attorney Trent Favre said at this time, the video is not subject to disclosure because of pending charges involving the suspects in the video. Favre addressed the video request as well.
"We're not trying to hold it or anything," Favre said. "The only reason it won't be released is because of a legal standpoint, but if it's allowed to be released, when it's allowed to be released, we'll turn it over to whoever wants a copy of it."
On Monday, Freeman told WLOX News Now he met with Favre, and the two mutually decided it was time for a change of leadership at the department. At that time, we did not ask Freeman about the video.
After Favre announced the resignation of Freeman, he introduced Issman, who made a brief statement in front of the council.
"I believe in accountability, transparency, and former chief Freeman and I philosophically are very alike, and I plan to carry on a lot of the projects he started," Issman said.
Issman has 44 years of law enforcement experience. He is the former chief of the LSU Police Department and has served as the detective sergeant for Bay St. Louis police since January.
Issman will be the city's third top lawman in the past year following the suicide of former chief Mike DeNardo.