LOWNDES COUNTY, Miss. (WCBI) – The decision not to prosecute sent shock waves throughout the community.
Some were pleased with the decision. Others asked why.
Devastation and confusion were just some of the emotions people felt after the Attorney General’s announcement.
It was a decision that left more questions than answers for some.
“It’s put a sharp pain knife in the heart of trust in this community as it relates to the justice system. This could not have been at the worst time that any news of this magnitude could’ve been dropped in this community,” said Rep. Kabir Karriem.
That District 41 State Representative Kabir Karriem’s reaction after learning the state Attorney General would not prosecute former Columbus police officer Canyon Boykin.
Karriem has a unique perspective. He was a city councilman at the time when Boykin shot Ricky Ball during a traffic stop.
He believed the community deserved a better understanding as to why charges were dropped.
“We have to do more, we have to demand answers. I will be writing a letter to the Attorney general in my capacity asking for an explanation on what took place,” said Karriem.
Karriem said with evidence and paperwork to support the case, he thought there was no need to drop charges at this time.
“What is it where the previous attorney general felt need to indict with the grand jury. Felt need to prosecute all the way to December and now it’s May and according to the two paragraphs that were given, it’s not enough evidence. Something is not right with that,” said Karriem.
Controversy surrounding the case also affected officers too.
Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton said as a citizen and an officer, he was mentally in a tough spot.
“Being in my position and being an African American male, they expect me to stand up and do what’s right and to fight for their rights,” said Chief Shelton. ” I’m going to fight for their rights. I’m going to make sure the police department is effective, efficient, and proactive at policing. We’re not going to turn our heads at crime,we’re going to do it fair and with dignity.”
Shelton said the attorney general’s decision puts a greater burden on the force.
“I don’t agree with it because it goes against the fabric of what we do. I want people to trust us, that if someone commits a crime that they will be arrested, they will go through the court process and that they will serve their time,” said Shelton.
“Whether the officer involved was innocent or guilty, I feel compelled that it should’ve played out in the court. I’m not advocating one way or the other but all we have is the justice system,” said Karriem.
We have reached out to the Ball family for comment. The mother of Ricky Ball said they are all heartbroken and requested privacy at this time.