Residents petition for police officer firing - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Residents petition for police officer firing

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DURANT, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Last week family and friends of a Holmes county man fatally shot by a police officer protested outside a Durant Board of Alderman meeting.

Tuesday evening residents met to take action against the accused officer.

About seventy people met at Rice Chapel Church demanding the firing of Durant Police Officer Dewayne Montgomery.

Montgomery is accused in the fatal shooting of 23-year-old Rodrick Thomas on May First.

His mother, Cynthia Wade, was among the audience members at the meeting.

The 43-year-old said she witnessed her son's murder in her back yard.

"My son got down on his knees and put the hands down so by that time Mr. Montgomery came and bum rushed my son from behind, and so they got to tussling on the ground again in the yard," said Wade. "So Mr. Montgomery, they were getting up off the ground at the same time, so Mr. Montgomery shot him. He fell back down on the ground and said 'Oh'."

Twenty-five year-old Frank Greer said he was with Thomas and demonstrated what he said he saw.

"They were arguing back and forth. They were talking back and forth. All of a sudden pow. He shot him and at this time I'm like 'Why did you shoot him? He didn't do nothing but resist arrest'," said Greer to those in attendance.

Community members said they are constantly harassed by police while the mayor and board of alderman ignore their cries for help.

"Literally he killed that young man. And with the abuse and the harassment that we've had from the police officers, we can't stand to give them space now to start killing our young people," said community activist Louise Winters.

The Mississippi Bureau of Investigations is conducting the probe into the police involved fatal shooting.

"Everyone has the right to live. Everyone has the right to do what is right to be protected, and if we have people that are going against you being protected then we need to do what we have to do to get them out," said Durant Alderman Dr. Henry Robinson.

The ward four representative said he was not representing the board but there to listen to residents.

He said the board made changes after the May third meeting that will allow citizens to submit their complaints about police to the city clerk's office instead of the police department.

Robinson told the crowd that members of the board have not been made aware of complaints about police, and residents must be pro-active, learn their rights and regularly attend board meetings to share their concerns.

Durant police said officers responded to Thomas' home on Lee Street. His vehicle was riddled with bullets and appeared to be fire bombed.

They said Thomas was wanted in connection with a Holmes County shooting and struggled with officers when they tried to arrest him.

Durant Mayor Robert Johnson released a statement saying that two officers were involved in the shooting that left on suspect injured and killed while another suspect remains in custody.

Both officers are on administrative leave.

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