Emotions flared between an alderman and the police chief during a board meeting last week over a young girl who was shot in the leg earlier this month.
Alderman Sir Johnathan Rucker said the Yazoo City Police Department did not handle the investigation properly. But Chief Ron Sampson defended his department, adding that hearsay hinders the work of his officers.
During the Board of Mayor and Aldermen meeting last Thursday, Rucker said his eight-year-old cousin was shot in the leg the week prior. Although it was a family member, he said the investigation was not done properly.
“There were some things that were not done properly,” Rucker said. “I did not try to investigate things, but I was at the hospital because that was my family. If the bullet was higher, an inch higher, she would have been dead or brain-dead today because the bullet would have went through her head.”
Rucker said he is tired of “the politics,” and he did not see an officer or investigator at the hospital when his cousin was receiving medical treatment.
“When will we stop the politics,” Rucker asked. “Stop the games. When will we stop this? I am emotional right now, but I am tired of the sugarcoating.”
Rucker added that he has been told patrol vehicles are seen outside of city limits.
“But then we had an eight-year-old get shot in the leg, and we didn’t have not one captain, not one investigator there,” Rucker said.
But Sampson said a captain was there, handling the investigation.
“Police work, especially sensitive investigations, is not information that we can share with just anybody because of the nature of the investigation,” Sampson said. “(A captain) was on scene. Whoever told you that he wasn’t, told you wrong. (The captain) has worked that case. Warrants have been issued. We don’t work at the pace of someone who wants something done quickly. If we do something very quickly and do it wrong, we lose that case and we lose it forever. There is a thing called double jeopardy that we have to be extremely careful of.”
Sampson said his captain has done everything to prosecute the case, adding that affidavits were recently signed.
“I am going to take up for my officers,” Sampson said. “They bust their tails. For anybody to lie on my captain because you didn’t see him or someone didn’t see him at that particular time, they are dead wrong. But we are doing our damn job. And we are doing a damn good job. And I hate it when people despise police officers and go off on poor information and hearsay.”
“Please do not use profanity like that,” Rucker said. “I was there at the hospital. But I was at the hospital and I didn’t see any detective.”
“Because you didn’t see him, doesn’t mean he wasn’t there,” Sampson replied.
Rucker later contacted The Yazoo Herald and said that he is just trying to protect taxpayers and their money.