Columbus Police officer will face no discipline after body-slamming man with reported mental illness onto the street


COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI) – The City Council and Columbus Police Chief Fred Shelton say they will not be taking any disciplinary action against the officers involved in body-slamming a man to the ground during an arrest.

“I didn’t see any violation of our policy or use of force, and that’s what I explained to (the city council),” Chief Shelton said. “I went over our policy with them and explained to them what our policy says and that was not a use of excessive force.”

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Chief Shelton and the city council reviewed the body camera footage from all three officers as well as the video taken by Columbus resident DeForest Davis that he posted on social media.

“The black cop picked him up and slammed him. Slammed him hard,” Davis said. “He stopped moving. We thought the man was dead how hard he slammed him.”

Davis says he was visiting with family just after 10 a.m. Sunday when he says multiple police cars pulled up.

Chief Shelton says officers were called to an area near the intersection of 27th Street North and 7th Avenue North after getting a 911 call about a man walking around with his pants down.

The body camera footage shows the officers making contact with Columbus resident Royale Jones, whose mother has told police has a mental disability.

In the police video, Jones can be heard shouting at the three officers and not responding to their commands. The officers can be seen restraining him in the video but he eventually breaks free of their handcuffs just before one of the officers throws him to the ground.

“We followed the policy,” said Chief Shelton. “Officers present, verbal direction and then we actually used empty hand control on the subject. So the only force that was used was enough force to bring the subject under control so we can arrest him.”

Davis, who says Jones’s reported mental illness is a well-known fact in the community, says he is not satisfied with that.

“Bogus. That’s just bogus,” Davis said. “To use excessive force on a mental man is just inhumane. I wouldn’t even want to see a dog get slammed like that.”

Chief Shelton says Jones was taken into custody and then taken to Baptist Memorial Hospital Golden Triangle for a mental evaluation. The chief says Jones did not sustain any injuries from the incident.

Chief Shelton has said before that incorporating more de-escalation tactics and improving community policing are high priorities for him.

“It’s something the chief needs to crack down on, our mayor needs to crack down on, the city council, everybody needs to crack down on the police using excessive force,” Davis said. “They need more time in the academy than on these streets.”

Jones was charged with disorderly conduct, indecent exposure and resisting arrest.