JACKSON COUNTY, Miss. (WLOX) - A grand jury ruled in October 2019 that theshooting of 27-year-old Diamon Sims by Moss Point police officer Lancen Shipman was justified, but that has never set well with Moss Point-Jackson County NAACP president Curley Clark.
Sims had six outstanding warrants - three of which were for felonies - and was fleeing from police when the shooting occurred, according to a grand jury report on the evidence presented to them. The report also states that Sims had a firearm with an extended magazine in his hands when the Moss Point officer fired the fatal shots.
“I said that was Mississippi justice,” he said. “I said it then, and I’m saying it now. It was Mississippi justice.”
Clark asked for the FBI to review for possible federal Civil Rights violations. He confirms to WLOX News Now that the investigation is still ongoing.
He was intensely involved at first, but a lot of things have happened since the incident.
“Because of the COVID-19 situation, also the flag situation, a lot of our attention had been diverted from the Diamon Sims case,” he said. “But, we’re going to redirect our attention to the case now that some of the other issues have been resolved.”
The case generated a lot of attention throughout the region, as family members and supporters cried out for their voices to be heard.
The reaction was nothing like that of the recent police-involved deaths of George Floyd in Minneapolis or Rayshard Brooks in Atlanta, and Clark hopes that attention will bring the Moss Point case into a brighter spotlight.
“Now, it’s opening up the door where people are willing to take a look at it and say, ‘Hey, wait a minute now. We need some accountability,‘” Clark said.
Moss Point Police Chief Brandon Ashley told WLOX News Now that the case was thoroughly investigated by the MBI and properly presented to the grand jury, and he said he would prefer Clark to use his influence to assist in several unsolved murders in the community.
In a written response, Chief Ashley said:
“I would ask Mr. Clark to please use his influence in the community to assist in helping the Moss Point Police Department solve the recent triple murder of George Kirkland, Asia Norman and Lindsey Foster; also the unsolved murder of Shawn Martin and the unsolved murder of Willie Burns, to name a few. Mr. Clark instead wants to focus on the tragic death of Mr. Sims because the police were involved. Mr. Sims’ death was thoroughly investigated by MBI and properly presented to a grand jury. Mr. Clark’s continued insinuations that he believes the FBI needs to investigate due to his misguided conclusions only leads to more distrust between the citizens of Moss Point and the department. It indirectly erodes community involvement with information pertaining to these and other crimes we are investigating and that is unfortunate.”
Clark added the family is still pursuing their civil lawsuit in the shooting, and he said if he doesn’t get an adequate response from the FBI, he will take his case to the U.S. Attorney’s office.