Click It or Ticket and Something More

In Uncategorized on May 26, 2010 at 11:35 am

The season has begun, you know the one: Click It or Ticket! For Mississippi law enforcement agencies, the campaign looks to, according to its Facebook page, “stop the excuses and buckle up Peeps…it’s the law & it saves lives. Same goes for all the LEOs out there…State, city or county…write a ticket if u see someone not wearing their seatbelt, you never know when they may be in a crash and writing a ticket will remind them to always wear their seat belt!!” But the Mississippi Department of Public Safety is also embroiled in another campaign, a campaign to distance itself from an organization that practices discrimination.

According to Mississippi NAACP President Derrick Johnson, “it is obvious that there is a structural problem within the Department of Public Safety as it relates to African American state troopers.” DPS spokesperson Jon Kalahar stated that Commissioner Simpson “stands behind not only the Mississippi highway patrol…but the Mississippi Employee Appeals Board. They backed up the highway patrol’s ruling that he [McField] should be terminated and the commissioner stands with both rulings.” The Appeals Board “found four of five charges against McField justified, including two incidents of failure to respond to accidents…[and] he arrived on the scene late and allegedly was out of uniform, wearing tennis shoes, shorts and a jacket.”

Adam Lynch of the Jackson Free Press reported the “Mississippi NAACP is condemning Department of Public Safety Commissioner Steve Simpson’s decision to ignore a May 11 finding by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission that the department fired Horn Lake trooper Michael McField for racially motivated reasons.” The NAACP filed a formal EEOC complaint against DPS alleging “discriminatory practices and racial slurs with the knowledge and approval of Assistant DPS Commissioner (and Highway Patrol Chief) Col. Michael Berthay, or in many instances, committed by him.”

The EEOC’s decision may be forwarded on to the US Department of Justice, to which a separate investigation could be initiated. See also the Clarion Ledger.


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