Supervisors Want More Info In Jail Death Lawsuit, Investigation

The attorneys who have filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the family of Jessie L. Williams say they have never seen anything like this case in their many years of practice. Tuesday, the lawsuit was filed alleging a torturous death of Williams at the hands of two Harrison County jailers.

Attorneys Michael Crosby and John Whitfield say had this been a case of an inmate killing a deputy, the case would have been completed and presented to a grand jury by now.

The attorneys, as well as the Williams Family, say they want to know what Jessie Williams did to justify such actions.

"Over the past 16 years, I've handled many civil rights type issues. It is clear to me, that based upon what we have discovered up until this point, this case has not been handled appropriately. Not by the police investigating it, not even by the District Attorney's Office, at this point. There are questions that they can answer that they refuse to answer, and the family deserves to have those questions answered," Whitfield said.

A surveillance tape, which documents the alleged incident, has still not been released 40 days after Williams death.

"We have attempted to obtain the video tapes, and the court has determined that the time is not right, at this time, to receive those tapes. The family again has a right to know what happened, and those tapes will tell us," Whitfield said.

Harrison County supervisors are looking for answers as well. Board President and District 5 Supervisor Connie Rockco issued a statement Wednesday saying, "We've asked the sheriff to appear before us and talk about the case, but he hasn't done so. But then again, I've only seen the sheriff twice in six years."

Harrison County Sheriff George Payne responded with a statement of his own.

"The supervisors will be fully informed about the lawsuit at a meeting next week, now that it's been filed. We welcome all the facts being made public in the future," Payne said.

The attorneys will now serve all of the individuals named in the lawsuit, and will file the necessary paperwork in court to once again try to obtain the videotapes from that evening.