Lead counsel for family of man shot by officer wants body camera footage released

Updated: Aug. 16, 2019 at 9:26 PM CDT
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MOSS POINT, Miss. (WLOX) - On the eve of Diamon Sims being laid to rest, a new attorney representing his family arrived on the Gulf Coast. Brian Dunn of the Cochran Firm, who specializes in officer-involved shootings, is working to get to the bottom of what happened leading up to Sims’ death last Thursday in Moss Point.

“You have an individual who was shot under circumstances that still haven’t been defined," Dunn said. "You have people on one side saying he had a firearm. You have witnesses coming forward that they didn’t see the situation unfold like this. There’s even been some evidence of a person that has said a firearm was planted. You also have the component of a video and when you have all these uncertain questions then it’s our duty to get to the bottom of it.”

Toussaint Diamon Sims, 27, died after being shot by a Moss Point police officer Thursday, Aug....
Toussaint Diamon Sims, 27, died after being shot by a Moss Point police officer Thursday, Aug. 8. Authorities say he was fleeing from the officer at the time.(Moss Point Police Dept.)

According to a release from the Moss Point Police Department, at around 6:30 p.m. Aug. 8, officers received information that Sims, wanted on multiple felony warrants, was located at a convenience store in Pascagoula.

Officers attempted to arrest Sims at that location, but police said he fled in a vehicle, leading officers on a pursuit through Moss Point.

The pursuit ended on 2nd Street when Sims’ vehicle became disabled. Sims then fled from officers on foot. During the foot pursuit, police said Sims displayed a firearm in a threatening manner. His actions caused the pursing officer to discharge his firearm, which fatally wounded Sims.

Dunn said the truth starts with what might be revealed in the offer’s body camera footage, video that hasn’t been seen by the public.

“No one has seen the video, but they’re hearing statements from people who have seen the video," Dunn said. "I don’t want to skew this one way or the other, but some of those statements seem to be from the perspective of one side and these kind of things serve to create more tension in a situation like this.”

Carlos Moore said he would withdraw as counsel for the Sims family.
Carlos Moore said he would withdraw as counsel for the Sims family.(WLOX)

Carlos Moore, first cousin to Sims’ mother, originally served as lead counsel, but he has said he will be assisting Dunn in this case.

Dunn said he plans to pursue federal subpoena power to obtain the body camera footage.

“Every day that video is not seen creates a heightened level of concern and tension among the community members who are only hearing depictions of one side of this incident. One of the most important things in a case involving an officer-involved shooting is did the person that is fired upon, did that person have any kind of a weapon? That’s one of the most obvious concerns. That doesn’t close the issue, but it’s a very important consideration. There are very few times that I’ve seen where that question hasn’t been definitively determined a week after the shooting," Dunn said.

According to Moss Point Police Chief Brandon Ashley, Sims was wanted by police for six warrants: two felony warrants for fleeing, one felony warrant for aggravated assault, two misdemeanor warrants for domestic violence and one misdemeanor for simple assault.

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