Jackson County NAACP Storms Out of Moss Point Meeting

By Sylvia Hall - bio | email

MOSS POINT, MS (WLOX)- Jackson County NAACP President Curley Clark wants a citizen's review board in Moss Point to help investigate the growing allegations against Moss Point police.

The board would be made up of volunteers, and would review complaints against city officials.  Moss Point had a citizen's review board before Hurricane Katrina, but it was never reinstated after the storm. Clark requested that the board of alderman create one.

"We're going to except whatever you do tonight; just vote it up, or vote it down. Vote it up, or vote it down. And then we'll be satisfied," Clark said to the board.

This was his second time to request that the citizen's review board be reinstated.

"Now it's to the point where some action needs to be taken by the mayor and board," Clark said.

Clark thinks a board like this would hold the Moss Point government accountable. He also believes it would foster quick and thorough investigations into allegations of city official misconduct. The Board of Aldermen and the Mayor of Moss Point don't agree.

They shut down his request, when they failed to second the motion to reinstate the citizen's review board. Mayor Bishop wants Clark to explain why he's targeted Moss Point.

"I feel that if he feels so strongly about its presence here in Moss Point than he should pursue the same outcome in Ocean Springs, Jackson County and all along the Gulf Coast," he commented, "For some reason he hasn't done that."

Mayor Bishop also pointed out that he believes many of the allegations behind the movement were unwarranted.

"In no case has there been any indication that any member of the Moss Point Police Department acted improperly," Mayor Bishop said.

He also says the citizen's review board would mirror the work that Moss Point Police Chief Sheila Smallman is doing to investigate allegations of police misconduct.

"While I think there are roles that a citizen can play," Mayop Bishop said. "I think simply duplicating a service that is already in place is inefficient and uneccesary."

The contraversy isn't over. The NAACP say they will continue to fight to get the board in place.

"If you prefer for an attorney to come down here, if you prefer for the FBI to come down here, so be it," Clark told the Board of Aldermen.

Applause ran through the packed room.  After the vote, NAACP members walked out of the room together.

"We refuse to sit down and do nothing. We are gonna stand for something, or we will fall for anything," said NAACP member Annette McCovrey, "And we choose to stand. We will not fall for whatever."