ABERDEEN, Miss. (WCBI) – A workplace dispute leads to a quarrel between the Aberdeen chief of police and a member of the rank and file.
Tempers flared, the officer is threatening to file charges. And, the sheriff of Monroe County is investigating at the request of the city’s mayor and aldermen. So what really happenedd at the police station Friday evening?
The alleged altercation between Police Chief Henry Randle and Officer Jason Franks happened late Friday afternoon at the police department. The dispute started in the office and escalated to the parking lot. Randle says there was not physical fighting between the two.
“To set this record straight, the truth of the matter is we have some insubordination issues that’s going on and it has turned into a alleged assault. There was not fighting amongst me and the other officer,” Randle told WCBI Tuesday..
The dispute developed after the chief asked the officer to sign an agenda to indicate they had discussed certain topics during a meeting. Franks may not have liked some of the issues during the discussion and Randle says this is not the first time the two have disagreed.
“The officer stated several times that he did not have to take orders from me because the mayor would take care of everything. This is not a board decision as to how this all got started. I think the officer and the mayor are collaborating together to put together whatever charges they may want to put together,” added Randle, who is one of the few elected police chiefs and easily won a second term during the city’s May elections.
The altercation is under investigation by the sheriff’s department and Randle says the surveillance video from the police department will show there was no physical contact between the two officers.
“There’s an investigation going on to determine who’s telling the truth and once the videos and the statements and the officers’ testimony will clearly prove what happened,” added Randle.
City Attorney Dudley Williams says they want to be fair; that’s why the city decided to turn things over to Monroe County Sheriff Cecil Cantrell for an independent investigation.
Cantrell says it may be the end of the week before the investigation is complete.
“Since he’s an elected official, there must be, he cannot be arrested until there’s a probable cause hearing to determine whether or not there’s probable cause to believe that something happened, that a crime was committed,” Williams said.
The city attorney says he has advised Franks not to comment about the incident. And, Mayor Cecil Belle confirmed that Franks did not want to talks.
As of now, Franks has filled out an affidavit of complaint against Randle but has not turned it into any court pending the outcome of the investigation. If one is filed, a circuit court judge would have to hear the evidence before any charges could be brought against Randle.
No disciplinary action has been taken against Franks.