Wiggins Residents Protest Unfair Police Treatment

A group of Wiggins and Stone County residents protested what they call unfair treatment by the Wiggins Police Department on Saturday.

The protestors stood outside city hall with picket signs accusing Mayor Ferris O'Neal and Police Chief Steve Compston of discrimination and neglecting their duties. Chief Steve Compston insists that his department treats everyone fairly.

Millie Touchstone disagrees. She passed out flyers accusing the Wiggins Police Department of racial discrimination. A few months ago, she says she called police after she and her husband were assaulted by a customer at their mechanic shop; but she says they were treated unfairly because they are white and the alleged perpetrator and officer are black.

"This man did not arrest him because he was black and he did know him," Touchstone said. "I feel that [I'm] discriminated against. I feel like I'm discriminated against from this police department because they did not protect me and my husband."

Other people who lined the street in front of city hall say these kinds of incidents are too common. They claim the law in Wiggins doesn't apply equally to everyone.

"I'm not sure where it starts, but you know where the buck stops. It's always with the top men, and in this case it would be the mayor and the chief of police," Stone County resident John Cripps said.

The Wiggins police chief says the protesters' allegations are not true. He says he instructs all his officers to treat other people the way they would want to be treated.

"I say they're wrong," Chief Compston said. "We treat everybody the same, everybody fairly. We do not involve any kind of racial lines in our performance of our job."

Chief Compston says charges were filed against the person accused of assaulting the Touchstones. The case is still pending because the original judge decided not to hear the case because she had represented the defendant in another matter.

We were not able to reach the mayor for comment about the allegations.

By Danielle Thomas